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Groundbreaking, long-term study of head injuries among athletes kicks off with NCAA grant
Date:3/14/2012

Ann Arbor, Mich. A grant from the NCAA will kick off a groundbreaking, long-term study of concussion and other head injuries among athletes, led by University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues around the country.

The NCAA will provide $400,000 to begin to fund a longitudinal study by the National Sport Concussion Outcomes Study Consortium, a new group that includes three founding members from the University of Michigan: Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., associate professor of neurology; James T. Eckner, M.D., assistant professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation; and Steven Broglio, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology.

With the NCAA grant, the Consortium will study more than 1,000 male and female college athletes who compete in 11 sports at three schools. Researchers hope to track those athletes throughout their lifetime to monitor long-term effects of head injuries.

But the Consortium has even bigger plans. Kutcher says the group is seeking funding to expand the effort and begin enrolling athletes as early as high school, then follow them through college and even into professional careers.

"We're hoping this could become a Framingham heart study for sports concussion," says Kutcher, referring to the study that began in 1948 with more than 5,000 people and has led to the identification of major cardiovascular disease risk factors.

"This study will be essential to improving our understanding of the risk to brain health for those who play sports. There is no data like this, it's groundbreaking. It will define the landscape."

Kutcher and the U-M faculty founded the Consortium with Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina; Chris Giza, M.D., of the Department of Neurology at UCLA; and Michael McCrea, Ph.D., professor of neurosurgery and neurology and director of brain injury research at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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Contact: Mary F. Masson
mfmasson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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