Covassin is a professor and licensed athletic trainer at Michigan State University in the Department of Kinesiology.
Her research in sport-related concussion includes sex differences in concussion outcomes, epidemiology and risk factors associated with sports-related concussion.
Covassin currently directs a multi-site high school and college sport-concussion outreach program in the Mid-Michigan area.
Industry Expertise (1)
Areas of Expertise (3)
Temple University: Ph.D., Exercise and Sport Psychology 2003
University of Nevada: M.S., Sports Medicine 1999
McMaster University: B.A., Psychology 1995
4 Things Seriously Messing with Your Teen's Brain Development
Women's Day online
Scientists used to think you couldn’t do much to change your brain. But now it’s widely known that what you eat, think, and do at any age can affect how well your brain performs today, tomorrow, and 50 years from now. And one of the most exciting times for the brain is the teen years. “What happens in adolescence can have a lifelong impact on how your child’s brain works,” says neuroscientist Jill Goldstein, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Why does it seem like nobody cares about female concussions?
ESPN The Magazine online
EVERY FOUR YEARS or so, some of the world's most prominent scientists gather to synthesize and summarize the latest in brain-injury research. Since first meeting in 2001, the assemblage, called the Concussion in Sport Group, has grown in size and influence. Doctors, athletic trainers and media types around the world take their cues from the recommendations it publishes and from the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) it has developed. When members gathered in Berlin last October, Jiri Dvorak, then FIFA's chief medical officer, said they worked on behalf of some 1 billion professional and amateur athletes. For that 2016 symposium, around 400 medical and sports professionals met in the Grand Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, with art nouveau stylings that hark back to the days before the world wars and trappings so posh that guests enjoy breakfast honey harvested from a rooftop beehive. Over two days, a stone's throw from where the Berlin Wall used to stand, the leading lights of the sports neuro-establishment made clear their role as gatekeepers of concussion research. Organizers closed the conclave to the media and swatted audience members off social media.
Women may have harder concussion recovery than men
Reuters Health online
After a concussion, women tend to have worse symptoms than men. That’s the case even when athletes were injured playing the same sport, according to a new study of young soccer players.
Journal Articles (3)
Preliminary evidence for differential trajectories of recovery for cognitive flexibility following sports-related concussion.Neuropsychology
Amanda L McGowan, Abigail C Bretzin, Jennifer L Savage, Kyle M Petit, Andrew C Parks, Tracey Covassin, Matthew B Pontifex
2018 Objective: A critical barrier to the understanding of disruptions to cognitive flexibility following sports-related concussion is the use of assessments that conflate shifts of visuospatial attention and contextual rules. Because these dissociable forms of cognitive flexibility are subserved by distinct neural networks, the utility of a cognitive flexibility assessment following concussion may be reduced, depending upon the extent to which the task requires shifting visuospatial attention relative to shifting contextual rules. Accordingly, the current investigation examined the extent to which these aspects of cognitive flexibility exhibit differential trajectories of recovery following a sports-related concussion. Method: Twenty-two athletes with sports-related concussions were assessed on a cognitive flexibility task with 2 switch conditions (i.e., perceptual-based and contextual rule−based) within 72 hr of injury, after return to play, and within 1 month following return to play. Thirty-three healthy control athletes were tested at the same intervals. Results: Findings revealed that concussed athletes demonstrated protracted disruptions in task performance on a visuospatial attention−based cognitive flexibility task relative to healthy controls, whereas disruptions in task performance on a contextual rule−based cognitive flexibility task resolved after the acute phase of injury. These findings suggest that dissociable forms of cognitive flexibility exhibit differential trajectories of recovery. Conclusions: Therefore, evaluations detecting sports-related concussion disruptions in cognitive flexibility may be reduced depending on the extent to which they rely on contextual rule−based decisions. Test batteries focusing on visuospatial attention−based demands may be useful additions to aid in the objective assessment and follow-up management of athletes following the acute phase of injury. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
Prospective Changes in Vestibular and Ocular Motor Impairment After ConcussionJournal of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Elbin, R. J., PhD; Sufrinko, Alicia, PhD; Anderson, Morgan N., MS; Mohler, Samantha, MS; Schatz, Philip, PhD; Covassin, Tracey, PhD; Mucha, Anne, DPT; Collins, Michael W., PhD; Kontos, Anthony P., PhD
2018 The utility of prospective changes on the Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) assessment are unknown, and 2 methods of scoring are published in the literature. Total scores are the total symptom scores for each VOMS component, and change scores are the difference between the pretest total symptom score and component total symptom scores. This study documented prospective changes in vestibular and ocular motor impairments and symptoms in high school athletes with concussion using the total and change scoring methods and compared the percentage of scores over clinical cutoffs using the total and change scoring methods for the VOMS.
Sports-Related Concussion Occurrence at Various Time Points During High School Athletic Events: Part 2The American Journal of Sports Medicine
Tracey Covassin, Kyle M Petit, Jennifer L Savage, Abigail C Bretzin, Meghan E Fox, Lauren F Walker, Daniel Gould
2018 Sports-related concussion (SRC) injury rates, and identifying those athletes at the highest risk, have been a primary research focus. However, no studies have evaluated at which time point during an athletic event athletes are most susceptible to SRCs.