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Grand alliance latest step in efforts to understand concussion

Study will build upon previous seminal, ongoing research funded by NCAA

The NCAA and Department of Defense initiative announced during the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit builds upon ongoing NCAA-funded research.

While the NCAA and DoD partnership includes the largest study of its kind ever conducted, the NCAA has already been a leader in concussion research. In 2012, the NCAA invested in the National Sport Concussion Outcomes Study Consortium to examine the effects of head injuries in contact and noncontact sports in both genders through the course of a college career. That study followed previous landmark research focused on better understanding concussions.

In 1999, the NCAA funded a long-term concussion study with researchers Kevin Guskiewicz, director of North Carolina’s Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, and Michael McCrea, director of brain injury research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. 

Guskiewicz and McCrea published their findings in a 2003 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That seminal study laid the groundwork for additional research on sport-related concussions.

Recognizing the potential long-term effects of concussions, in 2013 the NCAA commissioned a follow-up to the 1999 research conducted by Guskiewicz and McCrea. That study, “A prospective, longitudinal study of head impact exposure, neurologic health and brain imaging biomarkers in former NCAA athletes: 15 year follow-up of the original NCAA concussion study,” is an ongoing effort to understand the chronic neurological effects of concussions and repetitive, sub-concussive head impacts, particularly among NCAA student-athletes.

The NCAA and DoD concussion efforts will build on these works in the largest, most diverse student-athlete population ever studied.