Contact and collision sports are believed to accelerate brain aging. Postmortem studies of the human brain have implicated tau deposition in and around the perivascular space as a biomarker of an as yet poorly understood neurodegenerative process. Relatively little is known about the effects that collision sport participation has on the age-related trajectories of macroscale brain structure and function, particularly in female athletes. Diffusion MRI and resting-state functional MRI were obtained from female collision sport athletes (n = 19 roller derby (RD) players; 23–45 years old) and female control participants (n = 14; 20–49 years old) to quantify structural coupling (SC) and decoupling (SD). The novel and interesting finding is that RD athletes, but not controls, exhibited increasing SC with age in two association networks: the frontoparietal network, important for cognitive control, and default-mode network, a task-negative network (permuted p = 0.0006). Age-related increases in SC were also observed in sensorimotor networks (RD, controls) and age-related increases in SD were observed in association networks (controls) (permuted p ≤ 0.0001). These distinct patterns suggest that competing in RD results in compressed neuronal timescales in critical networks as a function of age and encourages the broader study of female athlete brains across the lifespan.
STEMroller events disrupt stereotypes surrounding STEM professionals within a neglected space in science communication; a sports hall. Roller derby inspired STEMroller, both the do-it-yourself culture and creating a space for women and genderqueer people to be themselves. Over 100 female and non-binary STEM professionals volunteered to put this event together for students aged 11–19. STEMroller includes networking with people from over 30 science, technology engineering and mathematics industries, watching roller derby and trying it out — albeit in socks not on wheels. STEMroller uses a pool of engaged volunteers to create a unique and memorable event. Feedback after the event was hugely positive.
This article narrates the affects and experiences of the CaiRollers, the first and only roller derby team in Egypt. Through visual affective discourse analysis of their Instagram account and interviews with team members, the article addresses the question: What do physical practices such as roller derby ‘do’ in e/affecting and mobilising change? In conversation with feminisms from the Middle East, our analysis highlights how the team’s ‘sisterhood’ is a site of affective politics that transcends the roller derby track. At the same time, a desire to be tough and to embrace risk permeated the CaiRollers discourses. Yet, while the team has established its legitimacy within the transnational roller derby community, we narrate the obstacles they face in Egypt. In sum, we found that the CaiRollers involvement in roller derby was entangled in mobilising change in political movements, gender politics, transnational mobilities and questions of legitimacy and sport.