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Concussion Research Laboratory Publishes Executive Summary of 2020-2021 Research

September 22, 2021

The UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program is the leading clinical concussion research program in the world with a track record including hundreds of published, peer-reviewed papers across 2 decades. Anthony P. Kontos, PhD, research director, and Micky Collins, PhD, executive director, lead the Concussion Research Laboratory (CRL). Hear from them directly about this impactful year in concussion research:

Building Evidence with Clinical Trials 

2020-21 was a pivotal year for clinical trials in the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. We concluded the first-ever randomized controlled trial (RCT) of precision vestibular therapy in adolescents following concussion funded by the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research. We also began the second year of two RCTs, including one in partnership with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Medical College of Wisconsin examining early, Active Injury Management (AIM) for concussion in at-risk pediatric patients, and another focused on Targeted Rehabilitation Exercises for Vestibular (T-REV) impairment in civilians and military personnel following concussion.

We also received funding and began enrollment of military-aged civilian patients into the Targeted Multidomain (T-MD) RCT, a multisite study that assesses the effectiveness of multiple, targeted concussion treatments simultaneously. Overall, we will enroll a combined 1000+ patients across 4 years into these trials that will help set the standard for concussion clinical practice guidelines.

Publishing Impactful Clinical Research

Our program faculty published over 40 peer-review papers in high impact journals including 20 first author and 22 senior author papers. Our work appeared in prestigious journals including JAMA Neurology, Pediatrics, American Journal of Sports Medicine, and Neurosurgery. Highlights included a study providing evidence for the benefits of early specialty care following concussion (see JAMA Neurology) and research supporting a new Concussion Clinical Profiles Screening tool (CP-Screen) (see Neurosurgery).

Expanding the Concussion Research Laboratory 

With the continued generous support of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney family, we were able to expand the Concussion Research Laboratory to include a new functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) imaging suite, exertional testing equipment, and video oculography goggles. This state-of-the-art facility and its 6 full time research staff and post-doctoral research fellow are located at the Rivertech office park on South Water Street in Pittsburgh’s Southside neighborhood.

Inaugural Dan Rooney Concussion Fellow 

UPMC and the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) University of Medicine and Health Sciences will oversee the new Dan Rooney Concussion Fellow beginning in fall 2021. The fellow will train in residence at UPMC in Pittsburgh with Drs. Michael “Micky” Collins and Anthony Kontos and will then return to Ireland to develop and grow the UPMC Concussion Network’s clinical research program in conjunction with a research coordinator and the RCSI.

Find more CRL research on PubMed.