HSU Joins $30 Million Concussion Research Initiative

Aug 20, 2015

Humboldt State University’s North Coast Concussion Program (NCCP) has received a $242,000 two-year grant from the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct groundbreaking research into the history and impact of concussions on NCAA athletes.

The research is part of a landmark $30 million NCAA-U.S. Department of Defense initiative that funds the most comprehensive study of concussion and head impact exposure ever conducted.

“This is an incredible opportunity for HSU students to be involved in the most comprehensive concussion research study of its kind. Not only will our students learn the fundamentals of conducting clinical concussion tests, they will play a key part in furthering our understanding of the effects of concussion on brain function, motor control and behavior,” said Justus Ortega, a Kinesiology Professor at Humboldt State and director of the NCCP.

The initiative also supports efforts aimed at changing concussion safety behaviors and the culture of concussion reporting and management.

“The data collected by our research team will help us better understand the acute and long term effects of concussions and will help us improve concussion management practices,” Ortega said.

The study will enroll an estimated 25,000 male and female NCAA student-athletes around the country over a three-year period. Participants will receive a comprehensive preseason evaluation for concussion and will be monitored in the event of an injury.

At Humboldt State, researchers will conduct baseline and post injury monitoring—up to six months after injury—of neurocognitive, motor control, and behavioral data in approximately 400 HSU athletes from all sports.

Humboldt State is part of the Longitudinal Clinical Study Core of the study, led by the University of Michigan.

The Advanced Research Core of the study, led by the Medical College of Wisconsin, will include studies that incorporate head impact sensor technologies, advanced neuroimaging, biological markers, genetic testing, and detailed clinical studies to examine the acute effects and early pattern of recovery from sport-related concussion. Ultimately, the work is designed to more fully inform a comprehensive understanding of sport-related concussion and traumatic brain injury.

The NCCP provides baseline and post injury management services for thousands of Humboldt and Del Norte County residents each year, including HSU students, staff and faculty, 11 regional high schools, youth and adult sport leagues, and community members.