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What are the short- and long-term effects of concussive head impacts on high school athletes? With the help of student research assistants, Dr. Steven Broglio is uncovering what could be some very surprising answers to those questions. His NeuroTrauma Research Laboratory offers physicians and research scientists a venue for recruiting patient volunteers and shaping clinical practice.
Broglio’s first area of research involves studying the biomedical and acute effects of concussion on high school football players. As he explains, “Working with a local high school, we’re placing sensors in helmets and tracking the magnitude and location of every concussive impact sustained by athletes.” The results to date are surprising. “Thus far,” Broglio says, “we don’t see any changes in cognitive function across the season.”
The second area of research focuses on the long-term effects of concussion among high school athletes. For these studies, Broglio and his team are examining changes in gait and hand control 30 to 40 years after initial injuries were sustained.
This year, seven undergraduates will be working in the NeuroSport Lab. Each student takes on a stand-alone project, similar to a master’s thesis. The goal is to spark an interest in scientific careers or, for those who eventually pursue other options, foster an appreciation of the research process and its importance.
And because of support from Carl and Joan Kreager, Broglio and his students will be able to continue their concussion research in an expanded lab. The photo at the top of this section shows a floor plan for the newly renovated space.
“The Kreagers have been instrumental in supporting student research. We have a number of high caliber students working in the NeuroSport Lab that arrive with well-crafted research ideas. Without the generosity of the Kreager family, we simply could not do these projects, falling short on our mission to support the best educational experience we can,” Broglio stated.
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