Joanne C. Gerstner

Joanne Gerstner

Sports Journalist in Residence

  • Journalism


Joanne C. Gerstner is an award-winning multi-platform sports journalist and book author,  with her work appearing in The New York Times, USA Today,, The Detroit News, The Cincinnati Enquirer, PGA Magazine and other outlets.

Gerstner's book, "Back in the Game: Why Concussion Doesn't Have to End Your Athletic Career", was honored with the 2017 Clarion Award for best non-fiction. The book, which focuses on youth concussions and sports - aimed at coaches, athletes and parents, was released by Oxford University Press.

She was awarded with ComArtSci's 2017 Faculty Impact award, given annually to a faculty member who impacts students through mentoring and leadership. Gerstner is also the 2017 Association for Women in Communication's Headliner Award winner for the Detroit chapter, for her professional achievements and leadership in sports journalism. 

Gerstner's career has taken her to the world's biggest sporting events: Olympics, women’s and men’s soccer World Cups, French and U.S. Open tennis championships, Ryder Cup, and numerous Stanley Cup, NBA, and NCAA playoffs/championships. She has been an NBA and Olympics beat writer as well as a main features/takeout writer.

In 2015, she became the first sports journalist to be awarded a Jacobs Foundation Fellowship for neuroscience. She studied under key researchers, professors and doctors at the University of Zurich in social neuroscience and neurology. She returned to Zurich in 2018, continuing her interaction with the Jacobs Foundation as a media consultant for its scientists and researchers.

During 2012-13, Gerstner was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, focusing her studies on sports and concussions. Gerstner frequently provides expert analysis and lectures on sports neurology. She was a featured panelist at South by Southwest Sports 2015 for the festival’s first discussion of brain health and athletes.

She is a frequent commentator and expert on sports and women’s media issues for global outlets, such as CNN, BBC and NPR.

Gerstner is the past president and chair of the board for the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM). She is the inaugural 2014 AWSM Ann Miller Award recipient for her organizational contributions and advancing women in sports media.

Gerstner is a graduate of Oakland University (BA) and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (MSJ). 


Coordinator, Sports Journalism minor program

Classes taught: Sports Journalism classes (intermediate, advanced, media management/leadership);  advanced feature writing; introduction to journalism.

Lead, Sports Journalism Study Abroad to Paris and Rome

Co- advisor, Association for Women in Sports Media - MSU chapter

Lead, Spartan Sports Journalism Classic

Team coordinator, JRN Social Media


Research and Teaching

Sports in all aspects: business, play, health and medicine, gender roles, youth, and neurology/concussion.


Contact Information

404 Wilson Rd., Room 345 
Communication Arts and Sciences 
Michigan State University

Twitter: @joannecgerstner