Women’s Concussion Study Event: On Behalf of the Chuck Noll Foundation and Magee Womens Research Institute

Posted on June 14, 2023

Magee Womens Research Institute Study


On June 6, the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research hosted an event with the  Pittsburgh Magee Women’s Research Institute to highlight their women’s concussion study. This study is the first ever prospective data on the effects of concussion on women’s health and the neurobiology underlying these effects in this at-risk population. 

2-3 million females have a concussion each year in the U.S. and unfortunately, females have worse outcomes; more severe symptoms, increased cognitive impairment, and prolonged recovery. There is a greater risk for menstrual cycle dysfunction and this can lead to downstream consequences on reproductive and related women’s health outcomes.To date, there have been no comprehensive, prospective studies of the effects of concussion on women’s health and their underlying neurobiological mechanisms and they are hoping to change this. 

The findings of this study will inform better and more targeted assessments and interventions to improve clinical care and reduce the effects of concussion on women’s health outcomes. We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Julie Rios and Dr. Meredith Snook, in attendance to help explain the impact this kind of research will have on women in the future.


An Empowering 14-Year-Old Girl Named Bella Stosic


Just before the event took place, a 14-year-old girl by the name of Bella Stosic gifted the Chuck Noll Foundation’s board chairman, Art Rooney and Dr. Joe Maroon $5,000. Bella took it upon herself to raise awareness at her middle school in March for brain injuries and the Chuck Noll Foundation’s mission to advance research related to the diagnosis and treatment of injuries to the brain occurring primarily from sports. 

Bella’s gift speaks volumes of the young woman she is, but her story doesn’t begin here. It started back in March of 2022 on a basketball court where she fell after colliding with another player, hitting her head – hard. 

Having never lost consciousness, her father took her home, but she soon began stuttering and eventually struggled to speak altogether. She was immediately admitted to the hospital, where no amount of testing and specialized practitioner assessment could pinpoint what was causing her symptoms. She was discharged with no further instructions. 

From sports medicine to psychologists, Bella’s verbal condition remained largely the same, as well as the struggle she continued to face walking without support and her sensitivity to light. 

Fast forward a year and Bella’s mother reached out to the Chuck Noll Foundation, looking to find a way to share the money her daughter raised with the foundation. Little did she know she would be receiving much more – the expertise of world renowned neurosurgeon and Science Advisory Committee member of the Chuck Noll Foundation, Dr. Joseph Maroon. 

After his assessment of Bella, he prescribed hyperbaric oxygen therapy and the results have been nothing short of extraordinary. Not only is she speaking again, she has received over three awards from her school this year relating to reading, education, and her outstanding grades.

Bella’s experience with brain injury is the reason the Chuck Noll Foundation is working so hard today; not just to better assess and treat the athletes who made a career out of their passion for sports, but the children, teens, and adults out there on recreation courts and backyard fields playing sports because they love the game.

It was an honor and a privilege to have Bella and her family in attendance to share her story with everyone. We cannot thank them enough for persisting in the fight for brain injury awareness with us. 

The Chuck Noll Foundation and the Magee Womens Research Institute are working to better assess and treat this population, one research study, and one person at a time. 

To follow Bella’s lead, make a donation here.

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