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Maggie Roberts ’16 is a proud Moc- and a self-proclaimed bookworm. As she puts it, “I’m always studying, always learning something new.” Her insatiable curiosity is leading her to pursue a career in medicine. She has enrolled in an accelerated BSN program, which begins this summer, and her goal is to obtain a master’s degree in nursing and work in the field as a nurse practitioner. Even though she has yet to start nursing school, Maggie is already making an impact in the medical field with her research into concussion management, recently published in a textbook.

The chapter “Concussions and Interdisciplinary Teams in the Academic Setting,” of which Maggie is a co-author, stemmed from her senior thesis work at FSC. As a health sciences major, Maggie chose a topic that combined her passion for athletics and a current health concern: concussion management in collegiate sports. As a player on the Moc’s softball team, concussion management was a subject familiar to her. Maggie explained, “There was a lot of talk about concussions in the NFL and college athletics, and, the more I read about it, the more interested I became in the subject. Before I knew it, I was in the library for hours researching the topic.  I chose the NCAA because I was a part of it. I had access to the protocol.”

Her integrated literature review paper, “Post Concussion Management: The Toll it takes on Collegiate Athletes,” introduced a previously overlooked research aspect of concussion effects on college athletes, which prior had mostly focused on athletes’ return to sports. Maggie’s paper raised the importance of addressing collegiate athletes’ “return to academics” and claimed that a post-concussion management plan should also include the athlete’s professors.

Maggie’s perspective impressed her research course professor and advisor, Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Teresa Lyle. “I was familiar with the formal recommendations for child, adolescent, and collegiate athletes regarding ‘return to play’ but also impressed with Maggie’s evidence that concurrently demanded consideration of ‘return to academics,’ especially at the collegiate level where critical coursework was impacted,” commented Dr. Lyle, adding, ”I felt that others could benefit from this knowledge, just as I have for my current student athletes under my advisement and in my courses as a Nursing and Health Sciences faculty member.”
Feeling strongly that others could benefit from this knowledge, Dr. Lyle asked Maggie’s permission to share her paper with colleague and Professor of Athletic Training Dr. James Lynch.  Dr. Lyle’s timing was fortuitous. A few days after receiving Maggie’s thesis, Dr. Lynch was invited to contribute to a textbook about concussions. With Maggie’s research fresh in his mind, Dr. Lynch asked if she was interested in collaborating on a chapter with him. Maggie eagerly accepted the offer.

For the textbook chapter, Dr. Lynch and Maggie shifted their focus from collegiate athletes to younger aged students. Specifically, they sought to provide guidelines to school nurses, who they believed should be the central person in charge of ensuring students’ full recovery from concussions.

They spent several months on the project, with Dr. Lynch searching for pertinent literature and Maggie distilling information into a cohesive text. Commenting on the impressive level of her work, Dr. Lynch said, “Maggie read a lot of articles and did an admirable job of pulling out the important details. The editors did not have a lot of revisions. They were pretty pleased with the writing Maggie did.”

As for Maggie, she credited Dr. Lynch’s constant support as a key contributor to her success, saying “I didn’t think I was ready, but he believed in my work.” She added, “From time to time I would come into his office and say, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ and he would say, ‘you got this.’”

And while she doesn’t plan to write a textbook anytime soon, Maggie sees publishing playing an important role in her future. “A big part of the medical field is participating in research, so by doing so at such a young age, it will help me get a job as a mid-level provider.”

The textbook, Concussions in Athletics: Assessment, Management and Emerging Issue is currently available for purchase through Nova Publishers.