IU Bloomington joins largest-ever research effort on concussion in sports

Data from student-athletes will support $30 million NCAA-Department of Defense study co-led by IU School of Medicine

  • Oct. 7, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Student-athletes at Indiana University Bloomington will contribute to the largest-ever research study on concussions in sport as the newest member of a $30 million joint effort from the NCAA and U.S. Department of Defense established to reduce the impact of the condition.

IU Bloomington will join the Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium as a performance site. The consortium is led by the IU School of Medicine in collaboration with the University of Michigan and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The project seeks to reveal a deeper understanding of concussion, including the injury’s short- and long-term effects on the brain, and to uncover methods to improve treatment and recovery. It will also develop education programs to change the culture of concussion reporting and management.

The director of the administrative and operations center for the CARE Consortium is Dr. Thomas W. McAllister, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine.

As a performance site, IU Bloomington has more than 650 student-athletes who will be eligible to contribute health data to the large-scale study. Athletes from over 20 NCAA member universities and military academies currently contribute data to the consortium.

Dr. Andy S. Hipskind, chief medical officer at IU Athletics and senior assistant athletic director for sports medicine at IU, will serve as the lead investigator on the performance site at IU Bloomington. The campus will receive a small portion of the NCAA-DOD grant to assist with the local data collection.

"The health threats of concussion are a serious concern among players, health care providers, parents and coaches, all of whom have a genuine interest in the long-term health and well-being of athletes," Hipskind said. "IU is proud that our student-athletes will be participating in this landmark collaboration and providing vital information to major research efforts that will help athletes everywhere pursue a love of their sport while staying safe and healthy in their endeavors."

IU participates in the NCAA’s Division I in 24 sports, including football, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and women’s volleyball.

All IU student-athletes who participate in the study will undergo a baseline neurocognitive assessment -- including tests for memory, posture and balance and a family medical history -- as well as an assessment for concussion symptoms such as headaches and dizziness. Any player who later experiences a concussion on the field will undergo these same assessments multiple times throughout recovery, beginning six hours after injury and ending six months after injury.

Entering its second year, the CARE Consortium has already collected data on 15,000 student-athletes and 400 concussions.

As the administrative and operations center for the CARE Consortium, IU also provides other resources to the consortium, including support related to data analysis and biostatistics, and guidance on MRI scan interpretation. All physical samples collected from athletes through the consortium -- such as blood -- are also stored at the IU School of Medicine.

Co-investigators with McAllister on the CARE Consortium are Steve Broglio at the University of Michigan and Mike McCrea at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

A complete list of organizations in the CARE Consortium is: University of Michigan; IU School of Medicine; IU Bloomington; Medical College of Wisconsin; University of Wisconsin; Princeton University; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; University of Pittsburgh; University of Georgia; University of Florida; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Oklahoma; University of Washington; Virginia Polytechnic Institute; U.S. Military Academy; U.S. Naval Academy; U.S. Air Force Academy; U.S. Coast Guard Academy; University of Delaware; University of Rochester, N.Y.; Humboldt State; Azusa Pacific University; and California Lutheran.

Dr. Thomas McAllister

Dr. Thomas McAllister | Photo by Indiana University

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