NewsEducationHigher Education / May 29, 2014

IU Part of National Concussion Research Project

Sam Klemet
IU Part of National Concussion Research Project

President Obama says a new summit at the White House is an attempt to highlight new public-private partnerships, establish new commitments, and spur new research on concussions.

Thursday, was the first Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit.

It included the announcement of a $30-million grant between Indianapolis-based NCAA and the U.S Department of Defense.

Indiana University School of Medicine is participating by assembling a central data base and analyzing the data for the project.

Doctor Tom McCallister hopes the research leads to a better understanding of the impact of concussions.

"Some people focus on cognition.  Some people focus on headaches.  Some people focus on balance, but really this is going to be a really careful look at are all those domains equally effected," said McCallister.  "Do men and women differ in terms of the types of symptoms they are likely to have?  Do men and women differ with respect to the rate of which they recover?"

McCallister says for some individuals, clinical symptoms don’t appear after a concussion, but other issues remain.

He hopes the research can fill in those gaps.

"There may be some information that we are missing about possible changes between clinical resolution of symptoms and actual resolution of brain structure and function," he said.  "That's what we are trying to get at."

The study will examine 37,000 student athletes during its three years, but also will be used to look at concussions in combat soldiers.

"The more we as a field can learn about the neurophysiology and natural history of this kind of injury and how long it takes to recover, the better all sorts of individuals will be, the military in particular," he said.  "We believe that this will go a long way towards informing their understanding of things like when somebody can be cleared to duty or the field of operations."

McCallister hopes to begin the work this summer.