Scholars from around the country participated in a workshop on February 9, 2018, organized by the Sports, Society, and Technology program to examine the issue of concussions from the unique vantage point of the liberal arts.
Key issues included how liberal arts scholars and biomedical and other researchers can more closely work together to help understand, prevent, and treat concussions and the people suffering from them. Participants also discussed the history, ethics, and cultural and individual experiences of people who have experienced traumatic brain injuries.
“We are always really looking to kind of tackle issues that are the issues of the day, and it seemed that concussion, or traumatic brain injury, is something that’s a hot topic,” said Mary McDonald, professor and Homer C. Rice Chair of Sports and Society in the School of History and Sociology. “But it’s often looked at from medical perspectives or injury mechanism perspectives, and we just wanted to broaden it, to take the theories and the tools of the liberal arts to bring different kinds of questions to bear on the topic.”
The symposium was one of the first of its kind, she said.
Summary of Sessions
The first session included, Michelle LaPlaca, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Matt Ventresca, a postdoctoral fellow in the Sports, Society, and Technology Program, discussing cross-disciplinary issues related to the study of concussions.
Later sessions grappled with issues including a history of advertising football equipment, experiences of brain injury, gender-based issues related to concussion, and suicide, among other topics.
The Sports, Society, and Technology program is part of the School of History and Sociology, which is a unit of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.