Jonas V Nurse Leader Scholar

Gerardo Flores, MS, MSN, ACLS

University of California-Los Angeles
PhD Student

I am a non-traditional doctoral nursing student, immigrant from Mexico and naturalized US citizen, which matriculated directly to doctoral studies upon graduation from the UCLA master’s entry pre-licensure nursing education program (MECN). My personal and professional interest is to design and implement research that helps maintain the health, including school health, of our communities. After careful careful consideration, I came to realize that my passion lies in soccer-related injury research among our youth, to help prevent injuries and maintain healthy development of our future generations, including school health. Soccer-related injuries are a healthcare crisis in the United States, and while interest dates to 1994, injuries continue to be a health concern with increased participation. Soccer-related injuries vary widely from sprains and strains to head injuries. Nearly 13-15% of soccer-related injuries result from head trauma, with 2-11% diagnosed as mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), which includes concussions. Although TBI resulting from heading is a concern, official rules allow heading, where players use the head to direct a ball purposefully. Currently, soccer play is evolving to include alternative forms of play: futsal vs. field soccer. Futsal requires fewer players (5 vs. 11), an indoor or outdoor barrier-free arena, and a smaller diameter ball, with similar weight and inflation when compared to field soccer ball. Fundamentally, these differences result in a futsal ball that is denser with lower resilience on impact, whether struck on ground or in-flight. I aim to research preventive strategies to soccer-related injuries, including TBI, in different forms of play.