Phase 2 of world’s largest concussion study underway


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WXIN) — The world’s most comprehensive concussion study is underway in Indiana and has received more than $42 million to launch phase two.

“I went down for a block tackle, so her knee came in contact with the front of my head,” said senior field hockey player Jessica McGivern.

“You know you could hurt yourself, anything can happen, but it’s not on the forefront of your mind because all you want to do is compete,” McGivern said.

She says that love of competition has led to multiple concussions on the field.

McGivern is one of more than 55,000 student-athletes and military members taking part in a concussion study pioneered by IU School of Medicine, the Department of Defense and the NCAA.

“It’s not only the largest and most comprehensive study in history, it’s the only study in history that has looked comprehensively at concussions in females,” said Brian Hainline, chief medical officer of the NCAA.

The study’s phase two will follow athletes up to 10 years after a concussion to learn about long-term effects.

Lead researcher Dr. Thomas McAllister says the study’s findings have resulted in changes to concussion protocols nationwide.

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“People are concerned that a single concussion or repetitive head impact may result in long term or permanent damage,” McAllister said. “I think the only way to find this out is by exactly this kind of study.”

Researchers say the study will help improve concussion protocols for athletes and also help educate parents on the safety of sports.

“There’s been a lot of fear about certain sports,” Hainline said.

“This is the kind of study that I think will really allow us to give parents good information so that they can make an informed decision about what their kids participate in,” McAllister said.

Dr. McAllister says the research is ongoing but the study’s findings will be released as they learn more.

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