In Conversation with Kathryn Schneider, Renowned Clinician Scientist

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Knowledge is continuously evolving in our everyday aspects of life. One of the key drivers of this ever-changing phenomenon is research and development. Research in all fields digs deep into the basics and underlying mechanisms of the said field, with scientific research leading the way more often than not.

Scientific research has provided and is continuing to provide answers that are applicable in agriculture, fertility and even in sports. In sports, for instance, one of the key areas that remained grey for a long time was the area of sports-associated brain injury. However, certain researchers have taken up on this somewhat unexplored territory, and have unlocked several layers of knowledge through painstaking research, with one such researcher being Dr. Kathryn Schneider.

Dr. Kathryn Schneider is an Assistant Professor and Clinician Scientist in the faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. She is also a physiotherapist and epidemiologist. She obtained a Physiotherapy degree from McMaster University, and holds a PhD in Sport Injury Prevention research from the University of Calgary, where she studied the effects of multimodal physiotherapy and vestibular rehabilitation in athletes who have sustained sport-related concussions.

Speaking on what inspired her to pursue a PhD in concussion research, Dr. Schneider said “While working as a clinical epidemiologist treating cervical spine, neck and bowel systems, I saw a lot of concussions at a time where there were no mainstream treatments for concussions. This led me towards the path of evaluating treatments for concussions, a venture that eventually turned out to be successful.”

“In looking at sport related brain injuries (concussions), we discovered that for concussions with symptoms lasting longer than 10 days, when treated with individualized physiotherapy to correct neck and balance system, the patients were four times more likely to be medically cleared to return to sports within an 8 week period.” She added. “This treatment regimen included head and neck control exercises, manual therapy for the neck, training balance and reflexes (to clear the eyesight).”

Dr. Schneider’s research has made changes in how concussions are treated. With her research going from laboratory bench-to-bedside, her work has influenced key decisions on the management and treatment of concussions. “The recommendation of rest after concussions, before patient resumes being active, is one of such solutions.”

As part of her impressive research career, Dr. Schneider was one of the science partners at the first international consensus on concussion and spirit, which was held in Berlin, in the October of 2006.

Speaking on the future directions of her research and work as a scientist, Dr. Schneider, who is also a mother of three, had this to say:

“A lot of studies have been done on concussions and a lot more needs to be done. Thus, we still have a long way to go with minimizing the risks of concussions and optimizing ways of treating concussions. It is basically a sort of lifelong work, in collaboration with other researchers and clinician.”

Furthermore, she also hopes to delve into concussions in youths and children, using her research.

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