Decades ago, TBI researchers began to identify significant sex differences in brain injury in lab animals and in athletes. However, since men have overall higher TBI numbers and female lab animals were considered impractical to use due to their reproductive cycle, researchers used male lab animals and men as their studies. Research findings from these all-male studies were assumed to be applicable to women with brain injury. This male-dominated research ignored the experience of women who suffered brain injury including concussion from sports, domestic violence and assaults, accidents and military service. And while in recent years, research on female brain injury in sports and military service has increased, research on brain injury suffered by women by violence in their homes, at their places of employment and in their communities has continued to be almost non-existent.
Today most women with lived experience and medical providers are unaware of the sex (biological) and gender (cultural) differences regarding how women and girls experience in brain injury. And despite having these documented differences, sports organizations, domestic violence shelters, the military, and medical providers still do not have any female TBI specific guidelines, protocols, or educational resources. Women and girls are rarely educated about these #pinkTBI differences which can lead to unrealistic expectations of their recovery time and an underestimation of the need for family and school/work support. This lack of sex and gender information seriously inhibits diagnosis and appropriate intervention across the care continuum and affects the development and provision of appropriate healthcare service.
The PINK Concussions Symposium will be a 75-minute scientific presentation of key #pinkTBI differences in female vs male brain injury interspersed with sound bites from our panel of women patients who will share their lived experience of brain injury to illustrate these differences. The goal of blending the scientific findings with the patient’s perspective is to truly help translate data in research paper into actionable change in the clinical practice of participants.
The Panelists - Women with Brain Injury and/or PCS
A Female Veteran with service-related TBI
A Woman with TBI from domestic violence
A Woman with TBI from violence in the workplace
A Student-Athlete with PCS from a history of sports concussions
A Woman with TBI and PCS from a fall or car accident
Katherine Snedaker, Executive Director of PINK Concussions and LCSW, will summarize female brain injury sex and gender differences (such as recovery time, fatigue, depression, hormone issues) which were presented by world experts at the four international PINK Concussions Summits on Female Brain Injury including concussion. Then the assembled panel of women patients with brain injury (from sports, domestic violence, military service, accidents) will share their lived experience of these key concept of female brain injury in sound bites responses (under 2 minutes per share). The purposes to make the research come alive via the voices of women and help to translate the research into everyday experience thus allowing clinicians to retain and apply the #pinkTBI science in their everyday interactions with their female patients.