Bass Connections Student Stories: Wesley Pritzlaff
This experience has allowed me to focus my research interests for the future, dealing with how to assess and manage physical injuries, such as a concussion or head injury.
My team focuses on researching mild traumatic brain injury in the youth football population. We’re working with organizations both in Durham and in Raleigh, trying to understand head impact exposure from both the input and output side. We’re using different eye-tracking metrics and measurements to see how often individuals are getting hit and what that may mean for their physical and cognitive performance.
This is my third year working on this project. I joined the summer going into my sophomore year and I'm a senior this year.
An important aspect of our team’s work is getting involved with the community partners and different departments on campus. Dr. Jason Luck, the team leader, actively seeks opportunities to integrate the students and get us involved in different ways.
A few aspects of Bass Connections have impacted me and informed my life after Duke. One is the interdisciplinary and teamwork aspect of it. For example, outside of the research itself, Dr. Luck organizes weekly team meetings. When we come together for these meetings, rather than simply talking about what we're working on, we reflect and discuss ways to push forward in our research. Someone might bring up the question that they're working on, and as a group, we provide different perspectives from our different academic backgrounds and help that individual move forward. Understanding that teamwork and collaboration is what makes a team successful, I'll definitely bring that aspect with me into future endeavors.
Another important aspect of our project is establishing connections with the population subjects, high schools and youth football leagues that we're working with and the importance of that in future studies.
This experience has allowed me to focus my research interests for the future, dealing with how to assess and manage physical injuries, such as a concussion or head injury. Next year, I'll start in the Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy program. For my clinical career, I'll definitely take the experiences throughout my project, from creating a hypothesis to gathering data, analyzing and presenting, along with me in the future.
Comments are from a virtual Bass Connections event in Fall 2020.