My name is Neal Canastra, I am a rising senior in the class of 2021 majoring in Biology at Wheaton college. Over the summer of 2020 I conducted research at University Orthopedics, an affiliate with the Brown Alpert Medical School located in Providence, Rhode Island. During this experience, I worked directly with a first year medical student to provide assistance in conducting various research studies. Over the past 3 months we compiled a database of all injuries within the WNBA over the past 20 years. We then further analyzed the data and wrote a paper examining the return to play rates (RTP) of players following ACL tears. The goal of this research was to discover if there was a correlation between injury recovery times and the return to play rates of athletes within a span of 3 seasons following an injury. What we found was that following an ACL tear, career length, games/minutes played and shooting percentages were not affected. However, their efficiency on the court saw a significant decline. These findings were all reflected in the statistical data that we collected and added to our paper that is in the process of being published.
This experience was an invaluable resource for my future career. It has allowed me to fully understand the research process and gain insight from veteran medical students. Personally, over my three years at Wheaton, I have grown as both a scientist and person. Over the past three months, I have developed better communication skills and a newfound sense of confidence within myself through the courses I have taken.
Moving forward I feel a lot more confident in my skills as a scientist and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented individuals.