The Big 10 and Ivy League launch concussion study

By:  Newsroom

The two conferences are teaming up to study athletes who agree to participate. 

The study, headed up by Dr. Dennis Molfese at UNL, would take place over time by teams of doctors and other specialists.  It will allow for doctors to have a baseline to better compare the effects of head injuries during the athletes' playing careers.

“The opportunity for collaborating on such a landmark series of studies with the Ivy League is unprecedented in sports medicine,” said Dennis Molfese, Big Ten/CIC Research Collaboration Director and the University of Nebraska Director of the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior. “Frankly, this is a unique moment in the history of science. There is no question that this research program will be greatly strengthened by bringing together in a genuine partnership the outstanding and cutting-edge scientists, athletic trainers and team physicians of both conferences to better understand and reduce as well as treat head injuries.”

A press release from the University Nebraska says the formal collaboration between the Big Ten and the Ivy League will extend and enhance the work already undertaken by both conferences over the past two years in their prior and ongoing efforts to address issues related to head injuries in intercollegiate athletics, including:

  • Developed a “Concussion Management Plan” for use by conference institutions, including baselines for return to academic and athletic activities (Big Ten, 2010);
  • Conducted presidential discussions concerning the existing data and research regarding concussions in athletics and identified steps to enhance student-athlete safety (Ivy League, 2010);
  • Developed a “Concussion Return to Play Checklist” and obtained agreement from athletic medicine staffs to use the checklist as a guide for their respective schools (Ivy League, 2011);
  • Convened an ad hoc committee to review concussions in football and developed a series of recommendations, implemented in fall 2011, with the goal of lowering the incidence of concussion and subconcussive hits in football (Ivy League, 2011);
  • Conducted a Head Injury Summit, with more than 40 attendees across several disciplines, including athletic medicine, neurology, neuropsychology, physics, engineering and biological sciences (Big Ten/CIC, 2011);
  • Created a centralized data-sharing platform to enhance existing surveillance and research and accelerate new inquiries into concussions (Big Ten/CIC, 2011);
  • Convened additional ad hoc committees to review concussions in men's and women's ice hockey, soccer and lacrosse and will make recommendations for those sports (Ivy League, 2012); and
  • Launched a research initiative regarding how head injuries affect athletes in all sports (Big Ten/CIC, 2012).