Joanne C. Gerstner

Sports Journalist

at Planet Fitness in Novi, Tuesday, August 13, 2013. Planet Fitness Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press

Joanne C. Gerstner has covered the world’s biggest sporting events: the Olympics, soccer World Cups, the Super Bowl, Grand Slam tennis, the Ryder Cup and numerous Stanley Cup, NBA, and NCAA championships.
She is a leading expert and journalist in the area of sports concussions. Gerstner has won fellowships from the Knight-Wallace program at the University of Michigan and from the Jacobs Foundation, to study sports neurology. Her book, “Back in the Game: Why Concussion Doesn’t Have to End Your Athletic Career,” came from that research. The Association for Women in Communications awarded it the 2017 Clarion Award for best non-fiction book.
A Grosse Pointe Woods native who loved sports and who had journalism running in her family, Gerstner declared in third grade she would become a sports journalist.
She has been a staff writer for The Detroit News, Flint Journal, Lansing State Journal, Cincinnati Enquirer, USA Today, espnW and PGA Magazine. Her work appears in The New York Times, on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee website ( and with other outlets. She has contributed on sports and media issues for global outlets such as CNN, BBC and NPR.
Gerstner is the sports journalist in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. She received the MSU College of Communication Arts and Science’s 2017 Faculty Impact Award for her mentoring and leadership.
Oakland University, where Gerstner earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism, honored her as its 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
She earned a master of science degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University.
In June 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Gerstner to Michigan’s Task Force on Women in Sports. She is the only sports journalist on the inaugural 14-person task force.
Gerstner is past president and chair of the board for the Association for Women in Sports Media. She is the organization’s 2014 Ann Miller Award recipient for her organizational contributions and for advancing women in sports media.