5.31.16: Women and Concussions, Man vs. Marathon, & In Praise of Patience

May 31, 2016

Public concern about concussions has mostly centered around football and other male-dominated sports. But another population experiences concussions at an even higher rate...female athletes. Today, some alarming research on the frequency, diagnosis and treatment of concussions in women and girls.

Then, we may be on the verge of the next major milestone in long-distance running: the sub two-hour marathon - that's if one scientist has his way. So, can new technology, training and even genetic selection make people run long distances even faster?

Listen to the full show. 

Why Women Have More Concussions

A congressional investigation released this week found that the NFL attempted to influence research into concussion-related brain injury. Focusing on the NFL's record with concussions leaves out another - largely unknown - conclusion: women and girls are one and a half times more likely to suffer from concussions than men who play the same sports and experience the same sorts of physical trauma.

Christie Aschwanden is lead writer for science at FiveThirtyEight where she recently wrote about the new findings on concussions in females

Man vs. Marathon

In 1954 Roger Bannister achieved the unthinkable, becoming the first person to break the four-minute mile barrier. Bannister's record-breaking run redefined the human capacity for endurance and speed. It remains one of the most significant moments in sport history.

More than sixty years later, we may be on the verge of the next major milestone in long-distance running: the sub two-hour marathon...and it may happen as early as 2019, if scientist Yannis Pitsiladis has his way. New York Times sports reporter Jere Longman spent 7 months following him in his quest to break the two-hour barrier, from mountain villages in Ethiopia, across Europe, and to the Dead Sea. 

Related: Man vs. Marathon

Ruffian

Let's travel back to a time when horse racing was at its peak. Here's Gwen Macsai's personal essay on the athlete that captured her heart, produced by Katie Mingle for the Third Coast International Audio Festival's weekly show, Re:sound.  

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

In Praise of Patience

As far as buzzwords go "resilience", is having a good run. The ability to bounce back after being knocked down has been embraced by education and management strategists, the US military, economists, and self-help programs.  After superstorm sandy, buses and billboards declared New Jersey to be a "a state of resilience" - an encouraging take on the resilience creed: bend or break. Adapt or die.

Samira Thomas wanted to bounce back after her mother was killed in a Taliban attack, but found another way to approach trauma: patience. 

Related: In Praise of Patience