Concussion management in racing is an issue Julia takes personally. Her dad sustained a concussion on the race track when Julia was in high school. She watched her dad struggle with his recovery due to lack of adequate advice on how to heal and return to racing. Julia saw her dad's frustration at not being able to race due to his concussive symptoms and wondered if other racers were having similar difficulties. She found racers who had similar stories as her father's and decided to learn more about how she could help as a physical therapist and athletic trainer. In graduate school she conducted her thesis project on how to safely and effectively return to racing after a concussion in order to help racers like her dad keep doing what they love.
Julia now works to educate the driving community on concussion management to prevent more stories like her dad's from happening in the future.
Currently, diagnosis of concussion relies heavily on when a racer reports symptoms. But how can we expect racers to tell us when they think they have a concussion if they don’t know what the symptoms are? If drivers do know the symptoms of concussion, they may not report their symptoms so they are not held out of their sport. However, those racers may not know or understand the risks that they pose to themselves or others by continuing to participate. Educating as many drivers as possible (and coaches, parents, team members, etc) about concussion symptoms, risks, and treatment is paramount in improving concussion management throughout motorsport.
Julia is available to facilitate concussion education (in all sports, not just racing!) through speaking engagements, discussion groups, and question sessions. Julia believes in educating athletes through open conversation instead of instruction or lecturing. Julia's goal is to educate as many racers and athletes as possible so that each individual can make informed decisions about their concussion care. Contact Julia for more information!