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Local musician studies concussions

John Daigle Voila Portrait 2013For John Daigle (BS ’13), music and medicine go hand-in-hand. Whether playing just the right song to satisfy a crowd or helping the injured or concussed, the recent grad hopes to positively affect those around him. And he’s off to a solid start.

With an interest sparked by his high school football career, Daigle researched a hot topic for his university honors thesis: sports-related concussions. From little league to the NFL, everyone is concerned about when it’s safe for an athlete who suffered a concussion to return to the playing field.

With help from Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, Daigle used a Computerized Dynamic Posturography machine to measure different components of balance in both concussed and non-concussed athletes.

“Even though concussed individuals may appear ready to get back on the field, they oftentimes still have impairments to their balance,” Daigle says. “It’s easy to spot a broken leg and know that the person is injured, but the brain is very tricky because it is harder to detect how badly injured a person really is.”

John Daigle Voila Portrait 2013An athlete can typically return to the field after being asymptomatic for at least a week, Daigle learned, but the severity of the concussion also dictates the time needed to heal.

Daigle’s research will come in handy as he spends the next year preparing for the medical school entrance exam, but he’s doing more than studying these days. Daigle’s acoustical guitar and singing talents have taken him to watering holes and venues from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and back to his hometown of Thibodaux. For the past three years, he’s been playing indie/folk rock, mixed with a few original songs.

While “Wagon Wheel” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” are guaranteed crowdpleasers, one of Daigle’s favorite things to do is take popular songs from various genres and turn them into an easy acoustic sound. “Whether it be a career in the health care profession or playing music for people, I hope to continue to make a difference in the lives of others,” Daigle says.

— Written by Jacqueline Weimer, graduate student

This article originally appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Voila! magazine. Click here to read the entire issue.

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