Big Ten Conference and Ivy League Host Head Injury Summit
July 24, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
Park Ridge, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference and the Ivy League, in conjunction with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), hosted the Big Ten-Ivy League Head Injury Summit on July 18-19 in Park Ridge, Ill. A total of 65 individuals from 23 institutions, representing each member institution from the Big Ten, Ivy League and CIC, participated in the two-day event in an effort to engage in collaborative discussions and to refine the strategic priorities of the historic, unprecedented research initiative that was announced by the conferences in June 2012. The summit provided an open forum for the subject-matter experts in attendance to review the current clinical and research efforts that exist on each campus, and allowed the group to define the short- and long-term areas of emphasis to address.
The remainder of the afternoon on day one was spent discussing potential funding opportunities that exist for research initiatives, strategies for data collection amongst the member institutions, as well as the current partnerships that exist on campus between researchers and athletics. The first day concluded with round table discussions that focused on research collaborations between academics and athletics in the context of traumatic brain injury. Each group, which consisted of a cross-section of representatives from multiple institutions and disciplines, examined topics such as successes and challenges that exist in collaborative projects, as well as critical research priorities and opportunities to explore.
What the Participants Had to Say:
Dr. Dennis Molfese, University of Nebraska Professor of Psychology "This first joint meeting of the Big Ten-Ivy League collaboration to advance research on concussion was historic. Our hope is that out of our discussions and presentations, groups of labs across both conferences will intensify their scientific efforts, developing points of collaboration that will ultimately advance the discussion on brain injury. Such an effort just seems like a good idea to pursue - there is incredible talent cross the 23 world-class Universities that make up this collaboration. If we can obtain baseline/pre-concussion data and then track athletes longitudinally with all the tools and expertise that we possess, I think we can attain major breakthroughs in establishing a universal definition of concussion, better and more systematic ways to study recovery from brain injury, as well as more active and effective forms of intervention to restore cognitive and motor functions following brain injury. We are attempting to do something that has not been done before - building the largest coordinated research task force involving all the major groups that work in one way or another with our student-athletes. As a result, we hope develop better training procedures to safeguard our athletes as well as better means of identification and intervention."
Dr. Art Maerlender, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; Director, Pediatric Neuropsychology "I think it is fair to say that there was broad support for this group to establish an infrastructure that encourages and enhances research across 23 of the most significant research institutions in the world. The level of interest, willingness to engage collaboratively and the enthusiasm expressed by each of the representatives was greater than I had anticipated. There is a large quantity of concussion research, but the truth is that it is difficult research to do, and getting large enough sample sizes has been a rate-limiting step. Establishing quality benchmarks and uniform procedures in larger studies will help to produce top-quality data that can move the field much further. While each of our institutions are fierce competitors on the field, collaboration in the laboratory is clearly the effective and productive way to go. The Thomson-Reuters data made this point very clear. We have an opportunity here that will move concussion research, and traumatic brain injury research in general, farther and faster than before. The Big Ten-Ivy League Collaboration sets precedence, and other groups are already discussing ways to create their own collaborations. This is very exciting and our student-athletes will benefit immensely."
Dr. Margot Putukian, Princeton University Director of Athletic Medicine, Head Team Physician "The summit provided an excellent opportunity to share and collaborate with others within the Ivy League and the Big Ten to discuss current knowledge and research regarding to sport-related concussion. It allowed for team physicians and athletic trainers currently providing care to the student athletes at our institutions and researchers at our institutions to discuss what collaborative research we've been doing and, more importantly, what we can achieve together moving forward. I'm very optimistic the summit set the stage for further, more powerful collective work for the future that will improve the health and safety of our student-athletes."
Dr. Jeff Kovan, Michigan State University Head Team Physician "To be part of a cross-conference meeting of this magnitude, which allowed each of our Universities to share research initiatives currently under investigation relative to mTBI and sports concussion and explore collaborative projects, truly demonstrates the care and concern the Big Ten and Ivy League share in the well-being of their athletes and those that may someday become collegiate athletes. Rarely do leaders from different disciplines, both clinical and research, have the opportunity to share ideas, develop a new data repository from our student-athletes that sustain head injuries and ultimately create collaborative research initiatives with the ultimate goal being to better care for all of our student-athletes, young and old alike."
Dr. Seymon Sloubonov, Director of Penn State Sports Concussion Research and Services, Professor of Kinesiology and Neurosurgery "Concussion in athletics is a growing public health concern with increased attention being focused on treatment and management of this puzzling epidemic. No single research laboratory, regardless of how well equipped and funded, is in a position to resolve a critical dilemma facing athletic trainers, coaches and medical practitioners: What is the time frame for safe return to sports participation after concussion? I believe that the Big Ten-Ivy League Head Injury Summit has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to combine our intellectual resources in order to address numerous questions and controversies about sports-related concussion. I was pleased to see a lot of enthusiasm among the participants to share their knowledge and, more importantly, to contribute to the filling scientific knowledge gaps at the junction between basic science and clinical management of sport-related concussions."