Winner of the Westonbirt School Alumni Association Award announced
Westonbirt School’s Alumni Association has announced alumna Freja Petrie as the winner of this year’s Association Award. Freja, along with her project co-founder, Isaac Lockett, have successfully secured £4,000 to kickstart their E-concussion Project – an initiative which aims to introduce awareness around concussion through video games.
The annual Association Award is open to all Association members up to the age of 26, including current sixth formers, who may apply for a project to be undertaken after they have completed their education at school. It is awarded to fund or part-fund any endeavours of social value, for the greater good of others, and to help develop the recipient’s skills for life. A maximum of £4,000 may be awarded in one year.
Freja, who is currently studying for a PhD entitled ‘Sex and Gendered Influences of Head Impact Biomechanics in Rugby’ at Swansea University, graduated from Westonbirt School Sixth Form in 2016. The E-concussion Project came about when Freja and Isaac met online via a Twitter thread with Progressive Rugby – a player welfare group comprising expert medics, elite players, academics, and coaches. This interaction led to the pair meeting and later starting the E-concussion Project.
‘We’re very pleased to win the Association Award this year, and to have the support from Westonbirt School for our new E-concussion Project. Concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that has the potential to affect anyone who takes part in sport. The highly variable, and often invisible nature of symptoms can lead to the stigmatisation of the injury and make it challenging to manage. Currently, major sports-related video games either do not simulate concussion or unrealistically represent the injury. Through the E-concussion Project, Isaac and I want to be a part of creating a safer space for grassroots and professional athletes through introducing concussion into sports-related video games. Not only will this help increase awareness, but it will open a discussion that will reduce any stigma surrounding reporting and recovering from concussion’.
The funding from the Association will enable Freja and Isaac to start stage 1 of their E-concussion Project this month. Stage 1 is a diagnostic study to understand how concussion is currently represented in video games, as well as a narrative analysis of video game commentary which will then be checked against regulatory guidelines. Through this important diagnostic stage, Freja and Isaac will be able to identify the existing problems and design a blueprint for the rest of their project.
Natasha Dangerfield, Headmistress, says:
‘Freja and Isaac’s E-concussion Project is a wonderful initiative that will form an integral study of concussion in video games. To see the effective introduction of concussion in e-sports is incredibly important, and normalising concussion will hopefully lead to people being able to recognise concussion sooner and respond in time. I’m very excited to see how this project will develop over the coming year’.
If you would like to take part in the initial research of the E-concussion Project, Freja and Isaac have created a short public engagement questionnaire on concussion, which you can access here
To find out more about the Association Award, visit: https://westonbirt.org/westonbirt-alumni-association/