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Maria Powell

New grads on fire: 10 alumni, 20-something and going places

Campus and Community

By Lisa Pendergast

Maria Powell is one of 10 alumni-millennials featured in a recent issue of Luminus who are storming out of the gate – with a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship fuelled at Memorial. Check out the Gazette for a new profile every day until Aug. 23.

A love of hockey and an education in behavioural neuroscience.

Together, they gave Maria Powell, B.Sc.(Hons.)’12, MD’17 , the motivation and tools to fight a debilitating injury that is pervasive in contact sports — concussions.

Personal experience

The former Memorial medical student co-founded Concussion-U with four other classmates in 2015. The group was founded with the goal to make sports safer for young people. Concussion-U is all about delivering education on sports-related injury in an accessible way that resonates with youth.

“Our common interest in sport-related concussions and backgrounds, along with support from the Faculty of Medicine, that’s what led to Concussion-U,” says Ms. Powell.

She grew up playing hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her interest in concussions comes from her own hockey career — having sustained the injury herself — and seeing many teammates and friends deal with sports-related head injuries.

“We created a model for the group to be self-sustainable — for new students to take over.” — Maria Powell

In 2017 Ms. Powell relocated to Calgary to complete her residency in internal medicine but ultimately hopes to return to Newfoundland and Labrador. Concussion-U lives on at Memorial.

“We created a model for the group to be self-sustainable — for new students to take over and continue to provide support and up-to-date information to athletes, parents and coaches,” she says.

Ms. Powell credits Concussion-U with being a passion project that challenged her to step outside of her comfort zone, something she feels she needed in order to become a better doctor.

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, we have the added challenge of living on an island with a smaller population, so we have to find ways to be innovative and create opportunities to grow.”


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