Wednesday, September 24, 2014

URSP Student Sumin Chung Researches Lacrosse Helmets and Concussions

The project I am currently assisting with is looking at lacrosse players and concussions. Specifically, we are looking at the frequency and magnitude of impacts that high school boys and girls lacrosse players are exposed to in a season. Concussions have long been an inherent risk in the sport of lacrosse, but only recently has it gained national attention with the NFL concussion studies. I gained interest in the study through taking Research Methods with my mentor-to-be Dr. Cortes. Originally, I wanted to start a project geared towards snowboarders and concussion epidemiology, but quickly changed the scope to lacrosse players due to the lack of studies in my original interest. Being a former lacrosse player myself, and also having sustained quite a few concussions in the past through snowboarding and other various sports, I was curious as to what results this study would yield, and with the encouragement of Dr. Cortes, I submitted my proposal for the Undergraduate Research Scholar’s Program.   

This past week, I began the statistical analysis of the girl’s lacrosse player data using SPSS, which is predictive analytics software. The months prior were spent organizing all of the game/practice data into an Excel spreadsheet that was formatted in such a way that importing it into SPSS would be a simple task. Even with a full team of graduate students assisting me, the organizing process was still excruciatingly tedious and long, so the statistical analysis was actually kind of a relaxing moment, despite it being a crucial step in the process. What I have learned from this experience thus far is that nothing ever really goes according to plan; it’s how you decide to roll with the punches that can make or break a research experiment.