Philanthropist Steve Tisch, co-owner of the New York Giants, has pledged $10 million to the department of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA for the BrainSPORT Program, which has been renamed the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program.
The new funding — the single largest gift from an individual to a medical center for a concussion-related initiative — will enable UCLA to create the first U.S. fellowship program to train pediatric neurologists who specialize in sports concussions, and establish the world’s most sophisticated research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment program for concussions and brain injuries, with a particular emphasis on young athletes.
“As the father of children who are athletes, and as an NFL owner, I greatly value the positive role that sports play in people’s lives and am personally concerned about sports concussions,” said Tisch. “UCLA runs one of the best youth concussion programs in the nation, and I’m honored that my gift will allow the program to accelerate and expand its efforts to help kids, parents and coaches understand how to prevent and treat concussions and enjoy the sports that they love.”
The BrainSPORT (Brain Sports concussion Prevention Outreach Research and Treatment) Program was founded in 2012 by UCLA’s Dr. Christopher Giza. Integrating the expertise of clinicians and scientists at the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center and in pediatric neurology, neuropsychology and sports medicine, the program provides research-based treatment for sports concussions in school-age to professional athletes.
As director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, Giza’s immediate goal is to develop an age-appropriate concussion-evaluation tool that blends baseline testing, recordings from advanced biomechanical sensors, and expert neurological and cognitive exams. The tests will measure a concussion’s severity, determine the treatment and guide plans for the affected athlete’s return to competition.
“Mr. Tisch’s generous gift will be an enormous game-changer, enabling us to create diagnostic tools customized to younger athletes,” said Giza, who is a professor of neurosurgery and pediatric neurology at the Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. “Currently, young athletes are assessed with adult tests — but kids aren’t little adults. With the right diagnosis and personalized care, kids can recover completely from concussion.”