INDIANAPOLIS - President Barack Obama announced Thursday a $30 million initiative for long term research into concussion injuries, and researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine will be leading the charge.
The three-year study, which is to start this year, will be the largest and most definitive study of concussions to date.
Researchers will track long term effects on the brain and the effects of multiple concussion injuries over time.
"Right now we're not really sure what happens to the brain when somebody has a concussion," said Dr. Thomas McAllister, who works for the IU School of Medicine. "We're not sure how long those changes in the brain may last. We're not sure that when somebody tells us that they feel better and that they're ready to return to play, whether the brain is actually fully healed or not."
The study will use high-tech sensors to collect data from about 7,200 student athletes from 12 institutions over the coming year. Then, over the next two years, those numbers will grow to include about 37,000 students at 30 universities.
The team at IU will lead the nationwide effort and store, manage and analyze all the data.
The ultimate goal of the study is the long term prevention of concussions for both young athletes and military service members.
"The role of IU School of Medicine is to serve as the overall administrative and operations coordinating center and to help to establish a consortium of schools that will be able to continue studies of concussion going forward." McAllister said.
Although the study will initially focus on college athletes, researchers hope to eventually expand it to include younger athletes.