Melissa Coyne, director of games administration at US Lacrosse and a former collegiate goalie, was among the participants on a female athlete panel at the recent International Summit on Female Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Sharing from her experience, Coyne told the audience about the difficulty an injured athlete has in leaving the field and potentially sacrificing opportunities they have trained many years to reach. She asked clinicians to be cognizant of the emotional toll that athletes suspected of concussion may be dealing with while enduring the medical protocols and the return to play guidelines.

“These people have worked their whole lives to get to a certain place and to take them out of that element and to tell them they might have to forego something they have worked their whole lives for, athletes will do anything they can to make sure it doesn’t happen,” Coyne said. “The more awareness clinicians can have that it’s not just their head that’s hurting, but it’s also their heart. Everything about them is hurting. Please take that into consideration when you are talking to them.”

Panelists were in agreement that the risk of injury is inherent in sports participation, but that doesn’t deter an athlete from participating.

“It’s unfortunate that there is a lot of risk associated with sports, but I do think the benefits far outweigh those risks,” Coyne said.

Coyne also told the gathered researchers and scientists that their work is important to the continued development of safety standards and policies in lacrosse. Many of the rules in the game are driven by research findings.

“We need you to keep doing it and we hope you do a lot more of it,” Coyne said. “You are making the experience better, especially for young kids. The more you do, the more we learn.”

Watch the female athletes panel below:

The athlete panel was followed by a second panel comprised of media members talking about their role in advancing the public discussion about sports concussions. That media panel presentation can be viewed below:

The international summit was hosted by Pink Concussions, a non-profit organization committed to highlighting current science and resources about female concussions. US Lacrosse president and CEO Steve Stenersen is a member of the advisory board for Pink Concussions, and US Lacrosse provided financial support for the summit.