Learning and listening

IMG_6105I’ve been busy with some lovely opportunities to share knowledge, and more importantly, listen to what others think about concussion, sports and the media.

Speaking as part of a panel of journalists at the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Concussion Conference provided an impact chance to hear from neurologists. Quick summary: many feel the media is doing so-so job in communicating medical information. They’re wondering why facts are wrong, studies misinterpreted, and news reports are too short. And their definition of media is everything: bloggers, tweeters, reporters, even athletes themselves who are interviewed. I believe very much in both sides of that free speech equation, professional media and citizen-driven media, as they have different roles to play in getting out information, thoughts and opinion. There are powerful journalists who are good at what they do, and there are bloggers/social media types who do great jobs too in serving the public. And yes, the other side is true too, there are incompetent journalists and non-professionals. It was good to hear from the neurology community about their perceptions, as it can help me think about being a better journalist and college professor.

The other side had their thoughts heard at the Association for Women in Sports Media‘s annual convention, where Dr. Kutcher presented on concussion/sports neurology for media, and we took some questions afterwards. The whole concept of privacy for famous athletes, as in…do we in the media have a right to know a player’s medical status/diagnosis?… is something the medical profession and journalists probably will not agree on. We seek information. The medical community is sworn to protect their patients. Having these debates, which are totally smart, friendly, and actually fun, helps both sides think about what the other is trying to do. They are important, because the media may need to think more about the impact on athletes as people, and the medical community may think why we are looking for that information.



On to the next adventures…

My time as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan is now at an end. It has been a very interesting year, with unexpected twists and turns, taking me to places where I learned something new each time. I thank everybody at the University of Michigan, KWF program director Charles Eisendrath, the hard-working Birgit Rieck (us Germans know no other way!), and everybody at Wallace house. I also want to send a heartfelt thank you to my classmates in the fellowship (hate the term fellow Fellows – can’t go there) for being such amazing people to learn from. I love you all and look forward to being part of your lives forever.

A gigantic hug of appreciation to Dr. Jeff Kutcher, Courtney, Steve, Bruno, Brandy and everybody at UM NeuroSport and the neuropsych departments. Your generosity of time and spirit let me into a whole new world. You’ve not seen the last of me. 🙂

My professors, Dr. Shirli Kopleman, Landon Little, Sherman Clark, Chris McNamara were all lovely. My friend and great advisor Dr. Andy Markovits is a font of ideas and enthusiasm. You never travel a journey alone, and I thank everybody for their help, kindness, patience and encouragement.

It’s time to move on to the next chapter, and I am excited to see where life will take me.



The KWF crew on top of Sao Paolo.
The KWF crew on top of Sao Paolo.