“Concussion in Athletics: From Brain to Behavior” was held October 11-12, 2012 at Penn State University Park University Park, PA. Following is a summary of the conference.
For a number of reasons it seemed timely to hold such a conference and condense our current understanding of the mechanisms, risk factors, and latest development in accurate evaluation and managements of sport-related concussions. Still existing controversies and inability to fully understanding concussion has led us to question when it is truly safe to return to full sport participation so threat for risk of re-injury is minimized.
The main goal of the conference was to bring together experts in medicine, brain scientists, and clinical practitioners and contribute to fill scientific knowledge gaps at the junction between basic science, clinical research, and management of concussion in athletics.
Main Topics Discussed
- Current development in clinical assessment of sport-related concussion
- Cumulative effects of concussive and sub-concussive blows
- Pediatric sport concussions: symptoms and links to neuroimaging findings
- Advanced brain imaging tools: hidden symptoms of concussion
- Neuropathology of concussion: animal models
- Management of sport-related concussion in clinical practice
- Biomechanics of Helmetry
The conference was held at the Nittany Lion Inn at Penn State University Park, PA.
*150 people attended the conference
*Participants came from across the world to take part in the conference: registrants traveled from the United States, Canada, Russia, and Israel.
*A number of professions were also represented at the event, including medical doctors, athletic trainers, cognitive rehabilitation specialists, brain scientists, physician’s assistants, psychologists, professors, physical therapists, coaches, and athletic directors.
Textbook in Preparation
A textbook is in the process of being written and will be published with Springer. This book will feature chapters from each speaker based on the topics of their presentations. There will also be guest chapters written by other experts in the field. The book is scheduled to be released in Fall 2013. More information will be made available shortly.
The Concussion in Athletics: From Brain to Behavior conference provided a starting link between clinical practices and scientific research. While there is still a long way to go before an effective connection between the two is made, the experts who presented helped us to better understand how to begin to link these.
Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS, FACS, FAHA
Robert E. Harbaugh obtained his M.D. from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and his general surgery and neurosurgery training at Dartmouth. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery) at the Dartmouth Medical School in 1985 and became Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery) in 1997. At Dartmouth, Dr. Harbaugh served as Director of the Cerebrovascular Disease Center, Director of the Neurosurgical Laboratory and as acting Residency Program Director. In 2003 Dr. Harbaugh accepted the position of Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Residency Program Director and Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at the Pennsylvania State University. He is a University Distinguished Professor, Penn State’s highest academic rank, and was appointed as the Director of Penn State University’s Institute of the Neurosciences. He also holds a clinical appointment as Guiding Professor of Neurosurgery at Huanhu Hospital and an academic appointment as Professor of Neurosurgery at Nankai University in Tianjin, China.
His research interests include clinical trial design, outcomes analysis, quality improvement in neurosurgery and neural engineering. He has served on the editorial boards of Neurosurgery, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Bulletin, Neurosurgery On Call, the Journal of Neurovascular Disease, the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and Neurobiology of Aging. Dr. Harbaugh has obtained research funding from the NIH, NATO, USDA, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, industry, foundations and other organizations.
He is a member of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the AANS/CNS Cerebrovascular Section (CVS), the AANS/CNS Tumor Section, the American Stroke Association (ASA), the American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Council, the New England Neurosurgical Society (NENS), the Pennsylvania Neurosurgical Society (PNS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). He is presently a Director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and was recently asked by the National Football League to be a member of the Head, Neck and Spine Committee and to Chair its data collection subcommittee. Dr. Harbaugh has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Lebanon Valley College.
Mark Hallett, A.B. and M.D.NIH, NINDS
Dr. Hallett obtained his A.B. and M.D. at Harvard University, had his internship in Medicine at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and his Neurology training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He had fellowships in neurophysiology at the NIH and in the Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry in London, where he worked with C. David Marsden. Before coming to NIH in 1984, Dr. Hallett was the Chief of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He is currently Chief of the Medical Neurology Branch and Chief of its Human Motor Control Section. He is now Editor-in-Chief of World Neurology, the newsletter of the World Federation of Neurology and Associate Editor of Brain. He has been President of the Movement Disorder Society and Vice-President of the American Academy of Neurology. Among many awards, in 2005 he won the Movement Disorder Research Award of the American Academy of Neurology and in 2007 he won the Wilhelm-Erb-GedenkmÜnze of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fÜr Neurologie. His research activities focus on the physiology of human voluntary movement and its pathophysiology in disordered voluntary movement and involuntary movement.
Robert Cantu, MD
Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at BUSM, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy
Dr. Cantu has authored over 357 scientific publications, including 28 books on neurology and sports medicine, in addition to numerous book chapters, peer-reviewed papers, abstracts and free communications, and educational videos. He has served as associate editor of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and Exercise and Sports Science Review, and on the editorial board of The Physician and Sports Medicine, Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, and Journal of Athletic Training. In 2003 Dr. Cantu became the section head for the Sports Medicine Section of Neurosurgery.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Dr. Cantu is medical director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, an ongoing registry instituted in 1982 for data collection and analysis of spine and head injuries. From this data important contributions have been made in sport safety and accident reduction; most notably football rule changes concerning tackling and blocking with the head, the establishment of football helmet standards, improved on-the-field medical care, and coaching techniques. He also serves on the Board of Trustees as Vice President of National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Dr. Cantu also is Co-Director of the Neurological Sports Injury Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2011 T. MacArthur Fellow
Kevin Guskiewicz is the Kenan Distinguished Professor and Director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as the Chair of Exercise and Sport Science and holds joint appointments in the Department of Orthopaedics, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, and Doctoral Program in Human Movement Science. Dr. Guskiewicz’s teaching responsibilities include Cadaver Anatomy, Therapeutic Modalities, Human Anatomy, and Research Methods & Statistics in Sports Medicine.
Over the past 17 years, Dr. Guskiewicz’s research has focused on sport-related concussion. He has investigated the effect of sport-related concussion on balance and neuropsychological function in high school and collegiate athletes, and the long-term neurological issues related to playing sport. Dr. Guskiewicz has been the recipient of 20 funded research grants, and has published over 75 journal articles and six textbook chapters related to concussion in sport. He was awarded Fellowship in the American College of Sports Medicine in 2003, the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education in 2006, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2008. In 2010 he was named to NCAA’s Concussion Committee, the NFLPA’s Mackey-White Committee, and the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee.
Gerard Gioia, Ph.D.
Director, Children National Medical Center, DC
Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., is a pediatric neuropsychologist and the director of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Program at Children’s National Medical Center. He also directs the hospital’s Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program and the Neurobehavioral Evaluation Core laboratories of the General Clinical Research Center and the Mental Retardation (GCRC) and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (MRDDRC). He is an associate professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Gioia received his BA in Psychology from Franklin and Marshall College and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with predoctoral internship training in pediatric psychology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and postdoctoral fellowship training in pediatric neuropsychology at Boston Children’s Hospital. He has a particular expertise in mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and disorders involving the executive functions. He is also involved in research of the neuropsychological outcomes of children with brain tumors, epilepsy, and neurofibromatosis (NF). Dr. Gioia is the principal investigator of a multi-site research study of mild TBI in children and adolescents, funded by the Centers for Disease Control. He is a principal author of an innovative set of clinical tests of the executive functions in children, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), which is now widely used in clinical and research centers around the world.
Zhifeng Kou, Ph.D.
Department of Biomedical Engineering and School of Medicine, Wayne State University
Dr. Kou is a graduate faculty with Department of Biomedical Engineering, Radiology and School of Medicine at the Wayne State University. Dr. Kou’s research interests are regarding neuroimaging of traumatic brain injury (TBI). He uses the advanced MRI techniques (fMRI, DTI, MRS) to improve the diagnosis of brain injury, better predict TBI patients long term outcome, and consequently to help physicians better treat the patients. His research spans from both human subjects and experimental animal model on TBI. In Dr. Kou’s team, the required research skills cover from signal processing (MR pulse sequence design), biomedical image processing, neuroscience, to clinical neuropsychology.
Erin Bigler, Ph.D.
The Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Center, Brigham Young University
Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah School of Medicine
Erin D. Bigler, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University (BYU) where he served as Chair of the Psychology Department for over six years from 1996 through 2002. He served as President of the National Academy of Neuropsychology from 1989-1990. He was formerly a Professor of psychology and psychiatry for the University of Texas, until he returned to Utah in 1990 to assume his current position at BYU. He has since established the internationally known Brain Imaging and Behavior Laboratory at BYU, which studies the role of neuroimaging variables in cognitive and neurobehavioral disorders such as traumatic brain injuries, neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and learning disabilities, anoxic brain injuries and other acquired injuries of the brain as well as aging and Alzheimer’s disease. In 1999, he received the Distinguished Clinical Neuropsychologist Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology. In that same year, he was also the recipient of the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, Brigham Young University’s top faculty honor. In 2003 he was awarded the Susa Young Gates Professorship which is given in recognition of distinguished scholarship, teaching, and citizenship at BYU.
Currently, Dr. Bigler is the incoming President of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) where he served as Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors for many years and was the Associate Editor to the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (JINS) for 11 years. He continues to sit on the editorial boards of several other neuropsychology journals and is currently the Associate Editor of the Brain Imaging and Behavior journal. In addition, Dr. Bigler is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry for the University of Utah. He is a licensed psychologist, practicing in the area of clinical neuropsychology, and holds a Diplomate from the American Board of Professional Psychology with special competence in clinical neuropsychology. He has written several neuropsychological tests, almost 90 book chapters, and authored and/or edited 9 textbooks—most recently as one of the coauthors of Muriel Lezak’s Neuropsychological Assessment-5th Edition. He has also authored/co-authored and published over 340 peer-reviewed articles while maintaining continuous external funding for his research interests over the past 35 years.
Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D.
Chair of Sport Neurology, American Academy of Neurology, Director of Michigan NeuroSport, University of Michigan
Dr. Kutcher is a sports neurologist and team physician at the University of Michigan, where he is also Director of Michigan NeuroSport, the university’s academic program in sports neurology. Since 2009, he has been the chair of the Sports Neurology Section of the American Academy of Neurology, which has been instrumental in increasing the awareness of sports medicine issues within the field of neurology and promoting the neurological health of athletes at all levels. Dr. Kutcher has testified in front of the United States Congress and Senate on issues related to sports concussion, and in the spring of 2011 helped the FDA produce a workshop on the science of devices designed for concussion diagnoses and management.
Dr. Kutcher’s efforts in sports concussion clinical care, education, and research spans the entire range of athletes, from youth sports to professional leagues. He is the architect and director of the National Basketball Association Concussion Program and works closely with the National Hockey League Players’ Association. He is a co-founder of the National Sports Concussion Outcomes Study, a multi-center, prospective cohort study designed to investigate the effects of playing sports on long-term brain health.
David Hovda, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chairman of Research Affairs, Director, UCLA Brain Injury Research Center Lind Lawrence Eminent Scholar
In 1989, Dr. Hovda was recruited by the Department of Neurosurgery to direct its scientific efforts to understand the cellular pathophysiology of brain injury. This work resulted in providing the backbone for UCLA being recognized as a “Center of Excellence” by the National Institutes of Health. He has devoted most of his career to understanding the mechanisms of recovery of function. Dr. Hovda is the Director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. He is a former President and current President – Elect of the National Neurotrauma Society and study section committee chair for the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS). He is the current chair for the Brain Injury and Neurovascular Pathologies study section for the NINDS and has been elected President of the International Neurotrauma Society (2009-2012). Dr. Hovda has received a number of awards for his research on brain injury and recovery of function, including the 1991 National Head Injury Foundation Award, the Giannini Foundation Award, the Benjamin Franklin Haught Memorial Award and named the Lind Lawrence Eminent Scholar for his work on the topic of Traumatic Brain Injury. In addition Dr. Hovda received the 2006 Women in Neurotrauma award for his teaching and support for women in neuroscience. Dr. Hovda is most well known internationally for his translational work on the pathobiology of traumatic brain injury.
Mark R. Lovell, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer of ImPACT Applications
Mark R. Lovell, Ph.D., Is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ImPACT Applications. Dr. Lovell joined UPMC Health System in August 2000 as the founding director of the new UPMC Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program and held this position until his retirement from UPMC in 2011. Dr. Lovell founded the neuropsychological testing programs for the National Football League and serves as a consultant to the league and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also co-directed the National Hockey League’s Neuropsychology program from 1997 to 2007 and currently serves as a consultant to the league. Dr. Lovell oversees the neuropsychological testing programs for the Indianapolis Racing League, the WWE, the US Ski Team and numerous other sports organizations nationally and internationally.
Dr. Lovell served as a member of the Vienna and Prague International Consensus conference on Sports-Related concussion, chartered by the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and the International Ice Hockey Federation. He has twice been a finalist for the Pittsburgh Business Times “Heroes of Healthcare” Award for his work in the prevention of brain injury and has also been awarded the Council of Brain Injury (CoBI) award for excellence in research. In 2010, Dr. Lovell received the prestigious USA Hockey Excellence in Safety Ward ad more recently was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from his Alma Mater, Northern Michigan University for his pioneering work in managing sports concussion.
Rimma Danov, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Neuropsychology
Dr. Rimma Danov received her Ph.D. from Adelphi University in New York. She completed her predoctoral internship in clinical psychology and neuropsychology at Harvard Medical School and postdoctoral specialization fellowship in pediatric and adult neuropsychology in a private clinic setting affiliated with New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ) and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center (RWJMC). She is an assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine, Dept. of Neurology, Penn State University, Dept. of Kinesiology, and Adelphi University, Derner Institute. In the past, she worked as a NHL neuropsychologist for the NJ Devils hockey team and was engaged as a co-investigator with the NYS Athletic Commission.
Albert I. King, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wayne State University
Dr. King received his BSc degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Hong Kong in 1955 and his Ph.D. in Biomechanics from Wayne State University in 1966. He is presently a Distinguished Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering and an adjunct professor of orthopedic surgery at Wayne State. His areas of research are trauma biomechanics and low back pain. He has studied injury response, tolerance to impact and mechanisms of injury from head to toe, due to blunt impact and blast overpressure, including computer modeling of head impact, side impact, spinal response to vertical acceleration and knee impact. He has authored over 200 papers and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.