More than $46 million invested in the study to date

More than 40,000 student-athletes and cadets have participated in the study

More than 3,000 concussed individuals have been examined (60 percent male, 40 percent female)

The NCAA-U.S. Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium is the largest concussion study in history. The project, funded by the NCAA and DOD, launched in 2014 and now includes participants on 30 campuses across the country. The CARE Consortium, part of the broader NCAA-DOD Grand Alliance, is composed of two major components: a clinical study core, which aims to define how symptoms manifest and evolve over time in different people (known in the scientific community as the “natural history” of concussion) and the advanced research core, which seeks to identify the neurobiology of concussion and repetitive head impact exposure (how the brain itself is affected). The CARE Consortium is designed to provide a framework for a future longitudinal study that will examine both the intermediate and long-term effects of concussion and repetitive head impact exposure.

Each of those goals is rooted in the desire to enhance the health and safety of college athletes and service members and will serve as a valuable resource for youth sports participants and society at large.


  • May 2014

    $30 million NCAA-Department of Defense Grand Alliance announced.

  • August 2014

    Data collection begins.

  • March 2016

    CARE Consortium research data is presented at the World Congress on Brain Injury at The Hague, Netherlands.

  • March 2017

    First CARE research paper published.

  • Fall 2017

    NCAA contributes additional $12.5 million in CARE funding.

  • February 2018

    NCAA and DOD solidify plans for transition from CARE’s first phase (acute effects of concussion and repetitive head impact exposure) to its next (persistent and cumulative effects of concussion and repetitive head impact exposure).

  • March 2018

    Tenth CARE research paper published.


Testing is underway at 30 campuses, including six schools where athletes undergo advanced imaging tests and blood draws.

The CARE Consortium is overseen by principal investigators at research institutions. Indiana University School of Medicine serves as the administrative and operations core and is the central coordination center for the CARE Consortium. Led by Dr. Thomas W. McAllister, chair of the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, the Indiana team provides fiduciary oversight, as well as data and analysis management, bioinformatics, biospecimen management and clinical trial support resources for the consortium.

The University of Michigan leads the longitudinal clinical study core, a prospective, multi-institution clinical research protocol studying the natural history of concussion among NCAA student-athletes. Steven Broglio, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Kinesiology, a certified athletic trainer and director of the NeuroTrauma Research Laboratory, leads this effort.

The Medical College of Wisconsin directs the advanced research core. Led by Michael McCrea, Ph.D., professor of neurosurgery and director of brain injury research at the Medical College of Wisconsin, this effort includes cutting-edge studies that incorporate head impact sensor technologies, advanced neuroimaging, biological markers and detailed clinical studies to examine the acute effects and early pattern of neurophysiological recovery from sport-related concussion. Ultimately, the work is designed to more fully inform a comprehensive understanding of sport-related concussion and traumatic brain injury.


NCAA, DOD launch concussion study

The NCAA and U.S. Department of Defense launched a $30 million initiative to enhance the safety of student-athletes and service members, announced during the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit.

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A Gray Matter

Concussion and its consequences are complex, but fear has surged ahead of science. To catch up, researchers funded by the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Defense teamed up in the largest concussion study in history. They hope to turn anxiety into answers.

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The Science of Safety: A Look at the Future of Concussion

Over the last decade, concussions have dominated the sports injury discussion, regardless of sport. At every level of all contact sports, coaches, players, administrators and parents are educating themselves about head injuries and exploring new ways to identify how concussions affect the brain.

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