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Houston Concussion Conference to Feature Cantu and Nowinski as Keynote Speaker

With a theme of “Grey Matters: Discerning the Impacts of Head Injury,” the Krost Symposium 2015 will be held October 7-8 in Houston. Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski will give the keynote address for the conference, which will be held at Texas Lutheran University on October 8 at 8:30 a.m. in the Jackson Auditorium.

The event, which is free and open to the public, focuses on raising awareness and understanding of brain injury as guest speakers discuss prevention and education regarding sports-related head trauma, cognitive rehabilitation, and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to awareness, the symposium will review strategies in preventing, treating, and rehabilitating brain injury, and critically examine the effects that brain injury and these interventions have specifically in the athletics and armed forces communities both now and as society moves into the future.

The schedule of events follows:

Tuesday, October 6, 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. (pre-event) on the Library Lawn

Pre-event Film Screening

Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis directed by Steve James

Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis will act as a primer and kick off to this year’s Krost Symposium. This film is inspired by the book of the same title written by Krost 2015 speaker Christopher Nowinski.

Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. in Jackson Auditorium

Giesber Keynote Address

Robert Cantu, M.D. and Chris Nowinski – Co-Founders of the Concussion Legacy Foundation

Thursday, October 8, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. in Jackson Auditiorium

“Brain, Mind, and Soul: Reintegrating after Military Deployment”

Drew Helmer, M.D. – Director of the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Thursday, October 8, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. in Jackson Auditorium

“Short and Long term management of TBI-related Symptoms”

Kim Gorgens, Ph.D. – Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development, University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Thursday, October 8, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. in Jackson Auditorium

Panel session discussing personal and clinical experience with head injury from the military, athletics and neurological perspectives

Speakers

Robert Cantu, M.D.

Co-founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation

Dr. Robert Cantu serves as chief of neurosurgery service, department of surgery chairman, and director of sports medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass. He has authored more than 350 scientific publications, including 22 books on neurosurgery and sports medicine, and has served as associate editor and on the editorial boards of multiple sports medicine publications. Dr. Cantu published the first ever return-to-play guidelines for sports concussions in 1986 and devised the first grading system for concussions, providing medical professionals with concussion management guidelines where none existed before. As medical director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, Dr. Cantu collected data that has resulted in sports safety improvements; most notably football rule changes concerning tackling and blocking, the establishment of football helmet standards, improved on-the-field medical care, and coaching techniques. He also serves as a clinical professor of neurosurgery at Boston University School of Medicine, adjunct professor of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, co-director of the Neurological Sports Injury Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and neurosurgical consultant to the Boston College Eagles football team and Boston Cannons professional lacrosse team. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, NFL Today, ABC World News Tonight, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and HBO’s Real Sports.

Chris Nowinski

Co-founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation

Chris Nowinski is co-founder and executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation (formerly Sports Legacy Institute), a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving the sports concussion crisis. He also serves as a co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at Boston University School of Medicine. A former Harvard football player and WWE professional wrestler, Nowinski was forced to retire after he suffered a series of concussions in 2003. Diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, he began a quest to better understand this condition. It wasn’t until he visited renowned neurosurgeon Robert Cantu that he was first exposed to medical research that revealed how concussions and brain trauma were misunderstood in the sports world. Realizing the lack of awareness among athletes, coaches, and even medical professionals—that ultimately only cost him his career and threatened the health and well being of athletes of all ages—led him to write the critically acclaimed book, Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis. Through his continued advocacy and investigative work, he has raised this issue into the national spotlight. To continue this groundbreaking research, he co-founded the Sports Legacy Institute with Dr. Cantu in 2008. As of 2012, the CSTE has studied the brains of over 140 athletes postmortem and has redefined our understanding of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, proving the disease extends into college and youth football, hockey, and other sports. His team’s research has been featured in almost every major newspaper and television network. His May 2007 profile on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel won the Emmy for Sports Journalism. A second HBO Real Sports episode aired in January 2010, a third in August 2010 and a fourth in November 2012. In 2012, Nowinski received the United States Sports Academy Distinguished Service Award. Nowinski also serves on the Ivy League Multi-Sports Concussion Committee, the National Football League Players Association Mackey/White TBI Research Committee, and on the board of directors for the Brain Injury Association of America.

For more information, visit http://www.tlu.edu/events/krost-symposium-2015/

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University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to Host Concussion Experts in Effort to Share Best Treatments, Practices

Nearly 30 leading, independent concussion clinicians and researchers from around the United States will convene at UPMC Oct. 15 and 16 with a unique purpose: to propose standard guidelines on the best practices, protocols and active therapies for treating concussions today, resulting in a white paper to be published in a medical journal and shared nationwide.

For the first time in the relatively infant science of concussion, U.S. experts are coming together to discuss what the UPMC organizers call Targeted Evaluation and Active Management (TEAM) Approaches to Treating Concussion. Representatives from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense, among others, also have been invited to participate.

“There’s a gaping need for a consistency of care for concussions across the country, if not the world. To try to fill that void, we’re thrilled to host a meeting of some of the greatest minds in concussion science and clinical care,” said Micky Collins, Ph.D., executive and clinical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and the chairman of the conference to be held at the U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, headquarters to UPMC. “It is a privilege to bring together such a group, discuss the issues truly facing concussion health care today, and attempt to share with caregivers everywhere what we find to be the best evidence, science and practices in getting people better.”

The white paper is intended to make scientific, clinical and therapy recommendations for otherhealth care providers to replicate and researchers to study further.

Over the past decade, there have been summits and conferences abroad where participants agreed upon definitions, evaluations and on-field protocols, but this marks the inaugural U.S. meeting focused strictly on active therapies, treatments and best clinical practices for concussions.

“Never before has evidence-based science and clinical experience been brought to bear in advancing concussion treatment like we’re attempting here,” said Anthony Kontos, Ph.D., research director for the UPMC Concussion Program, associate professor in theUniversity of Pittsburgh Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and co-director of the meeting. “We believe that this meeting will bring together cutting-edge research knowledge and clinical approaches to this injury that will blaze a trail for concussion treatment moving forward.”

The invitees cut across academic, scientific and health care environments. Among those expected to attend are Julian Bailes, M.D., NorthShore University Health System (Chicago) and chairman of the medical advisory board for Pop Warner Football, and retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former U.S. Army vice chief of staff and an outspoken leader in research and treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI), mild TBI such as concussion, and post-traumatic stress.

“There have been numerous advances in our understanding of concussion treatment, and this conference should facilitate the implementation of best practices to make participation in all sports safe,” Dr. Bailes said.

“I am honored to be among this group of leading concussion clinicians and researchers for a meeting that will be a critical step forward in the standard of care for concussions,” Gen. Chiarelli said. “A published consensus statement on concussion treatment will give every patient the opportunity to receive the best care, no matter where they are injured. It’s time to put aside our differences, collaborate and work together for the sake of patients everywhere.”

Added conference co-director David Okonkwo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurological surgery and clinical director of the Brain Trauma Research Center at the Pitt School of Medicine: “It is high time to assemble neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists, emergency medicine physicians, physiatrists, athletic trainers, physical therapists and all the multidisciplinary health care professionals who are the primary caregivers to people, and not just athletes, troubled by concussions. Let’s effect change and improve outcomes now and for the future.”

UPMC received support to host this meeting because it is aligned with Pittsburgh’s long-standing place at the center of the field: the first sports-medicine concussion program to open its doors (2000), a leading institution in concussion research and innovation, and a model clinic with successful assessment, treatment and outcomes amid its nearly 18,000 concussion-patient visits yearly.

“We are fortunate that we have this opportunity to carry out this idea of spreading better care practices and ultimately helping so many,” Dr. Collins said. “We are looking forward to a wide-ranging, stimulating discussion that is overdue, and we feel our science, innovation and clinical experience make us well suited to serve as hosts.”

The two-day meeting is fully funded by a grant from the NFL Foundation.

“Because of the vital nature of the concussion conversation, it’s critical to support leading institutions in the country, like UPMC, that are promoting science in an effort to advance treatment, evidence and clinical experience,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson, chair of the NFL Foundation and executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys. “The NFL Foundation is dedicated to improving the health and safety of sports, youth football and the communities in which we live, and we look forward to learning from the experts who will meet in October to further that mission.”

The conference will conclude with a panel discussion and media availability that is expected to be streamed live.

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Experimental Rule Requiring Medical Observer Recommended for College Football

By Greg Johnson, of the NCAA

To continue to address player safety concerns, the NCAA is moving forward with an experimental rule in football to allow medical observers to notify game officials when a player appears to have suffered a head/neck injury.

Under the rule recommended Monday by the NCAA Football Rules Committee, officials would immediately stop the game when notified to remove the player for medical evaluation. The rule would take effect for the 2015 season.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which could finalize the rule Thursday via conference call.

College Football Officiating endorsed a proposal from the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conferences to make this change for player safety reasons.

The medical observer could sit in the press-box booth with the instant-replay official. If the medical observer suspects a player has a head/neck injury that has gone undetected by the on-field officials, the medical observer would alert the instant-replay official, who would contact the referee to stop the game so the player could be removed and evaluated by the team’s medical staff.

The conference-assigned medical observer also could be located on the sidelines instead of the instant-replay booth.

In non-conference games, the visiting team could choose whether it wants to play the game using the experimental rule if the home team intends to use this provision.

If this experimental rule is approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, conferences would be asked to submit a report to the NCAA Football Rules Committee at its 2016 meeting in February, at which time the committee could entertain a proposed permanent change to the rules.

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