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Thirty-five of the leading U.S. concussion clinicians and researchers are scheduled to join together Oct. 15-16 at UPMC for an unprecedented meeting designed to propose and share nationally the participants’ agreement on the best practices, protocols and active therapies for treating concussions today. The conference discussions, resulting in a Statement of Agreement to be published in the journal Neurosurgery, will be led by chair Micky Collins, Ph.D., along with co-directors Anthony Kontos, Ph.D., and David Okonkwo, M.D., Ph.D., of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.
Also participating from UPMC are: Anne Mucha, Ph.D., physical therapy; Joseph Maroon, M.D., neurosurgery, Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL consultant; and Tony Yates, M.D., internal medicine, Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL head, neck and spine committee.
Among the visitors actively participating and the guests attending and auditing the invite-only conference are representatives, board members and/or consultants with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Major League Baseball, the NCAA, NFL, NFL Players Association (NFLPA), USA Football, USA Rugby and U.S. Soccer, among others.
The conference’s visiting expert participants, confirmed to date:
- John Almquist, certified athletic trainer (A.T.C.), Fairfax Concussion Center, Fairfax, Va.
- Mark Barisa, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Baylor Institute of Rehab, Frisco, Texas
- Julian Bailes, M.D., neurosurgery, NorthShore University Health/chairman Pop Warner Football medical advisory board, Chicago
- Jeff Bazarian, M.D., emergency medicine, University of Rochester/Institute of Medicine, Rochester, N.Y.
- Josh Bloom, M.D., primary care, Duke Medicine/Carolina Hurricanes, Cary, N.C.
- David Brody, M.D., Ph.D., neurology, Washington U./NFL Neurological Player Care Unit site director, St. Louis, Mo.
- Robert Cantu, M.D., neurosurgery, Emerson Hospital and Boston U./co-chair NFLPA equipment and rules committee and co-founder Sports Legacy Institute, Boston
- Javier Cardenas, M.D., neurology, Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center/Arizona State and Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix, Ariz.
- Jay Clugston, M.D., family medicine, University of Florida/UF, Southeastern Conference and Arena Football, Gainesville, Fla.
- Randy Cohen, A.T.C., University of Arizona/UA associate athletic director, Tucson, Ariz.
- R.J. Elbin, Ph.D., neuropsychology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
- Richard Ellenbogen, M.D., neurosurgery, U. of Washington/Seattle Seahawks and co-chair NFL head, neck and spine committee, Seattle, Wash.
- Janna Fonseca, A.T.C., Carolina Sports Concussion Clinic, Cary, N.C.
- Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Children’s National Medical Center/Washington Capitals and Baltimore Ravens, Washington, D.C.
- Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D., sports medicine, University of North Carolina/ NFL head, neck and spine committee; brain-injury and retired athlete research, Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Rob Heyer, M.D., internal medicine, Carolinas Healthcare/Carolina Panthers and president NFL Physicians Society, Charlotte, N.C.
- Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., behavioral neuroscience, U. of Miami/Miami Project, UM and Dade County schools, Miami, Fla.
- Grant Iverson, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Harvard Medical School /International Brain Injury Association board of governors, Boston
- Geoffrey Manley, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgery, University of California, San Francisco/contact investigator NIH and DoD TBI consortia, San Francisco
- Tom McCallister, M.D., psychiatry, University of Indiana/ NCAA-DoD concussion consortium administrator, Indianapolis, Ind.
- Tamara Valovich McLeod, Ph.D., A.T.C., sports medicine, Arizona School of Health Sciences/U.S. Brain Injury Alliance, Mesa, Ariz.
- Mike McCrea, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Medical College of Wisconsin/DoD advisor on traumatic brain injury and NFL head, neck and spine committee, Milwaukee, Wisc.
- Beth Pieroth, Ph.D., neuropsychology, NorthShore University Health/Chicago Bears, Blackhawks and White Sox, Chicago
- Ken Podell, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Methodist Concussion Center/Houston Astros, Texans and Rice U., Houston
- Matt Pombo, M.D., orthopaedic surgery, Emory University Healthcare, Atlanta
- Allen Sills, M.D., neurosurgery, Vanderbilt University/Nashville Predators and Mississippi State, Nashville, Tenn.
- Gary Solomon, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Vanderbilt University/Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Tenn.
- Danny Thomas, M.D., pediatric emergency medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis.
- Ross Zafonte, D.O., physical medicine and rehab, Harvard Medical School /American Congress of Rehab Medicine, Boston
“We want to move the needle, and this meeting could do that,” said Dr. Collins, executive and clinical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. “Neuropsychologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, psychiatrists, physiatrists, family medicine physicians, emergency medicine physicians, physical therapists, certified athletic trainers, researchers – people from across so many disciplines – are uniting for the first-ever conference to reach agreement on active treatments for concussion. Awareness with no solution is called hysteria; awareness with a solution is called science.”
Dr. Kontos is the research director for the UPMC Concussion Program and associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr.Okonkwo is a professor of neurological surgery and clinical director of the Brain Trauma Research Center at the Pitt School of Medicine.
The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine present “Concussion: A National Challenge” – a convening of the nation’s top concussion scientists, engineers, clinicians and researchers, to educate and inform the public of the scientifically based, factual information about the detection, treatment and prevention of concussions.
From June 23-24, 2015 at the Global Center for Health Innovation, approximately 20 of the nation’s leaders in basic science, medicine and engineering will offer lay, informative presentations exploring the known medical issues and the potential technologies that will foster greater safety for the public. The goal of this meeting is to help set a national agenda leading to better brain health through the detection and prevention of concussion, as well as to identify the most promising approaches that should be pursued in three major areas of sports, battlefield and automobiles.
“It is the mission of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to advise the government and the general public about critical issues facing our nation,” said Hunter Peckham, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, Donnell Institute Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics, Case Western Reserve University, and NAE member. “Since 2000, Case Western Reserve University has hosted several NAE regional or topical conferences on subjects such as Biomedical Technology, Energy, Vaccine Production and Shale Gas. But concussion is different; everyone knows of someone that has suffered from concussion.”
The conference is hosted and co-sponsored by Case Western Reserve University. Peckham is Chair of “Concussion: A National Challenge,” while Jay Alberts, PhD, the Edward F. and Barbara A. Bell Family Endowed Chair, Director, Concussion Center, Cleveland Clinic, is the Conference General Co-Chair. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, CEO, Cleveland Clinic and IOM member is the event Honorary Chair.
More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend the event, with main seating in the Global Center for Health Innovation Junior Ballroom. Overflow seating will be available at the Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public with advance registration.
“Concussion has come into national awareness as a major health crisis facing the public. With the rapid advancements in neurological medicine it has become clear that repetitive brain injury, even at relatively low energy levels, is a source of brain trauma that faces our youth, men and women, and elderly – from playing sports, to automobile collisions or falls, to the battlefield – there is a critical need to prevent and detect the neurological effects of these injuries through the cooperative exploration of experts from different disciplines within medicine and engineering as we jointly seek solutions,” said Alberts.
(What follows is a short excerpt from the March 2015 issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter)
Athletic trainers (AT) are increasingly being relied upon to provide insight and feedback into proposed concussion litigation.
Witness the presence of the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA), whose representatives were recently invited to attend and provide expert testimony at the Youth Concussion and Sports Safety Hearing in New York City, where two introductory bills regarding youth sports safety for New York State were being considered.
Among the questions being addressed on that day were:
- “Is it reasonable – and appropriate – to require appropriate medical coverage at youth football practices and games, and possible to do so without causing impossible financial burden on these programs?
- “What other youth sports might be at high risk for concern and could also need similar safety provisions?”
These bills, if passed, would mandate that a certified AT would be present at all youth football contact practices and a physician, likely alongside the AT, be present at all games, as well as set up a task force to investigate safety and injury concerns in all youth sports.
The aforementioned hearing was held jointly by the Committee on Health and the Committee on Education. Joining a long list of various medical professionals, researchers, school officials, and athletic personnel, NYSATA President, Aimee Brunelle, MS, ATC and NYSATA Region 1-Long Island Representative, James Pierre-Glaude, DPT, ATC, CSCS traveled to New York City to provide expert testimony about the qualifications of ATs, concussion management, and sports safety issues, including injury prevention and injury rates in contact sports. A NYSATA focus group also prepared a detailed written testimony to provide to the Committee members, which included some recommendations on how to improve the proposed legislation.
Based on NYSATA’s examination of the bills, Brunelle said that NYSATA is “pleased to see the interest demonstrated in … creating a safety task force to collect information and then make recommendations.”
NATA Maintains Proactive Stance on the National Level
State chapters of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) aren’t the only ones taking a proactive stance with regard to concussion laws. …
(Editor’s Note: For the rest of the story, subscribe to Concussion Litigation Reporter)