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The Concussion Conundrum

Researchers are still perplexed as to the effects of concussions on female athletes. But a Northwestern duo believes accounting for the menstrual cycle could be the key.

By Brittany Callan
Medill Reports

For rugby player Brittany O’Dell, it took a Will Smith movie to scare her into taking sports injuries seriously.

The 2015 true-life film “Concussion” chronicled the discovery of the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, and starred Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the physician who discovered the condition. O’Dell, who plays for Chicago North Shore Women’s Rugby, says watching the film opened her eyes to the potential long-term effects brain injuries in her sport could have for athletes who didn’t take them seriously. “That made me scared a little bit,” she says. “That made me want to enforce recovery to everyone.”
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