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About the SSI

Since its inception in 2013, the SSI has worked collaboratively with NCAA membership, with the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, with medical and research experts, and with sports medicine and other medical organizations to develop interassociation consensus documents and educational resources to assist member institutions in their effort to provide for student-athlete health and safety.  The interassociation documents and educational resources augment the nine strategic priorities of the SSI.


To promote and develop safety, excellence and wellness in college student-athletes, and to foster lifelong physical and mental development.


To be the preeminent sport science voice for all student-athletes and NCAA member institutions, and to be the steward of best practices for youth and intercollegiate sports.

Strategic Priorities

The SSI is committed to serving and educating our student-athletes and membership. Through collaboration with leading medical and sports medicine organizations, student-athletes, our membership and key sport stakeholders, the Sport Science Institute has advanced the following nine strategic priorities:

Meet the SSI Team
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Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports

The mission of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) is to provide expertise and leadership to the Association in order to promote a healthy and safe environment for student-athletes through research, education, collaboration and policy development

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Meet the Sport Science Institute Staff

Brian Hainline, M.D.

Senior Vice President; Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Brian Hainline is chief medical officer of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and  clinical professor of neurology at Indiana University School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine.  As the NCAA’s first chief medical officer, Hainline oversees the NCAA Sport Science Institute, a national center of excellence whose mission is to promote and develop safety, excellence and wellness in college student-athletes, and to foster lifelong physical and mental development.  The NCAA Sport Science Institute works collaboratively with member institutions and Centers of Excellence across the United States.  For more than 25 years, Hainline has been actively involved in sports medicine.  He co-authored “Drugs and the Athlete”, and played a pivotal role in the development of drug testing and education protocols worldwide.  He has served on the New York State Athletic Commission and the USOC Sports Medicine Committee, and was a founding member of the executive committee of the American Academy of Neurology Sports Neurology Section, where he currently serves as vice chair.  Hainline has played a pivotal role in the development of health and safety standards in tennis, both nationally and internationally.  He was chief medical officer of the US Open Tennis Championships for 16 years, and then served as chief medical officer of the United States Tennis Association before moving to the NCAA.  He is chair of the International Tennis Federation Sport Science & Medicine Commission, and oversaw the rollout of international wheelchair tennis competition, a sport for which he wrote the rules of eligibility for both para- and quad-tennis. 

At the NCAA, Hainline developed, in partnership with the Department of Defense, the NCAA-DoD Grand Alliance, which includes the CARE Consortium, which is a multimillion-dollar study that aims to understand the natural history of concussion and neurobiological recovery in concussion.  The clinical study, with an advanced research component, is the largest  prospective clinical study ever conducted in the history of concussion.  The Grand Alliance also includes a Mind Matters educational and research initiative, the goal of which is to change the culture of concussion.  Hainline has taken a leadership role in addressing other pressing issues of student-athletes, including mental health, overuse injuries, alcohol and drug abuse, and sudden cardiac death.  He has developed key alliances with youth sport organizations, understanding that an effective sport model begins at youth and extends to college and beyond, with a premise that sport should be a model of wellness for life.

John Parsons, PhD, ATC

Managing Director of the SSI

John Parsons, a nationally certified and state licensed athletic trainer, is the Managing Director of the NCAA Sport Science Institute, whose mission is to promote and develop safety, excellence, and wellness in college student-athletes, and to foster life-long physical and mental development. Dr. Parsons’ policy portfolio includes sports medicine, sport injury epidemiology, athletic health care administration, as well as oversight of data collection and technology initiatives. Prior to coming to the NCAA, he was a faculty member in the post-professional athletic training program at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona for 17 years, the last five serving as the director of the program. Dr. Parsons currently serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation and the Athletic Training Education Journal. In 2016, he was recognized by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association with the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer award.

LaGwyn Durden, ATC, LAT

Director of sports medicine

LaGwyn Durden, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, joined the NCAA as its first director of sports medicine in January 2018. A long-time member of The University of Texas at Austin sports medicine staff, Durden served as UT’s associate athletics director for sports medicine, overseeing healthcare delivery to 17 Longhorns teams and coordinating women’s health and wellness programming. Additionally, she served as the athletic trainer for women’s track and field/cross country for more than 20 years. Durden earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise and sports sciences at the University of Florida and is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association and Texas State Athletic Trainers’ Association. She served as a member of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games sports medicine staff and was a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Intercollegiate Council for Sports Medicine. Durden chaired the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports and was a member of the NCAA Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence. In the oversight of the SSI’s sports medicine line, she serves as the point of contact for the membership for a broad portfolio of topics including concussion, cardiac health, nutrition, overuse injuries and periodization.

Jessica Wagner, MPH, RN

Associate Director of Prevention and Health Promotion

Jessica Gonzalez joined the SSI in November 2016. Previously, she was a clinical nurse educator for Nurse-Family Partnership of Goodwill Industries. She has spent 10 years in nursing and health education of diverse populations. Gonzalez earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of Texas-Pan American in 2006 and her Master of Public Health from the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in 2014. While obtaining her graduate degree, she studied healthcare in China and South Africa. Gonzalez currently serves as the 2014 Robert Wood Johnson Breakthrough Leader in Nursing, co-chair for the Indiana Center for Nursing Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and on the Indiana Public Health Association Policy Committee.

Amanda Dickey

Assistant Coordinator

Amanda Dickey joined the SSI in January 2018. Her primary responsibilities include providing administrative support to the SSI managing director, as well as other SSI team members. She has more than 10 years of experience in clinical office administration and administrative support and has received a LEAN Six Sigma certification.

Laura Arnett

Coordinator to the Chief Medical Officer

Laura Arnett joined the SSI in May 2018. Her primary responsibilities include providing administrative support to the NCAA Chief Medical Office. Previously, Laura served as executive assistant to the president, chief nursing officer and senior staff of the St. Vincent | Ascension Health Fishers and Carmel campuses. Prior to her time at St. Vincent’s, Laura worked for more than 17 years for the Marion County Superior Courts where she began her career as a caseload officer serving the mental health population then served as a presentence investigator. Laura graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and minor in psychology.