April 18, 2017

Alabama, Auburn and UAB athletic team physicians to provide insight into concussion research at April symposium

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concussions force smallClick to enlargeConcussion prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management are a major focus across the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus among investigators and medical professionals as they look for answers in how to best protect the brain and treat traumatic brain injuries.

As a precursor to the Children’s of Alabama Concussion Clinic, the UAB Vision Science Research Center and the Wise Up! Initiative will host a multidisciplinary symposium showcasing concussion science and engineering Thursday, April 27, from noon-3:30 p.m. at the Hill Student Center. Lead athletic team physicians from the University of Alabama, Auburn University and UAB will hold a panel discussion with concussion researchers to dive deeper into how innovative research is feasible in the real world with student-athletes.

Physicians include M. Heath Hale, M.D., lead team physician for UAB Athletics, James B. Robinson, M.D., lead team physician at the University of Alabama, and Siraj Abdullah, D.O., sports medicine physician for Auburn University.

“The research that continues to come out of UAB enhances the care we are able to provide our athletes,” Hale said. “New helmet research to protect our football players’ brains, baseline testing for all student-athletes in the case that they receive a concussion, and even research on the appropriate time for our student-athletes to return to the classroom play an important role in how we care for concussed student-athletes each day.”

The Concussion Collaborative Science Symposium 2017: Objectively Tackling Concussion through Vision, Science, Radiology and Engineering is a multidisciplinary, rapid-fire summit and roundtable discussion for those interested or involved in concussion research and care.

“The symposium is focused on innovation, collaboration, and helping our athletes remain active and safe,” said Katherine K. Weise, O.D., director of UAB Eye Care Pediatric Optometry Services and organizer of the symposium. “We hope that the open discussion will lead to connections across disciplines and campuses, future research catapulted by these collaborations, and most importantly, insight into how we can minimize injury while enjoying all the benefits sports brings to our athletes, our schools and our state.”

At noon, Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., chief of the Children’s National Health System Division of Neuropsychology in Washington, D.C., will kick off the symposium as he discusses “Using Science to Predict the Future (Outcomes) in Youth Concussion.” Gioia is the keynote speaker for the Children’s Concussion Clinic, where he will discuss concussion care for kids, how far we have come and moving forward with coaches, administrative staff and parents from across Alabama.

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Other topics and speakers include:

  • Peeping through the Window, an update from the Vestibular Oculomotor Research Clinic: Baseline data and a postconcussion objective mess presented by Jennifer Christy, Ph.D., co-director of the UAB VORClinic
  • Using the Eye as a Window to the Brain in Impact Exposure presented by Mark Bolding, Ph.D., UAB Division of Medical Imaging; Mark Adams, Ph.D., Auburn Engineering; Lei Liu, Ph.D., UAB Optometry and Vision Science
  • Objective Pupil Findings in Football Players vs. Other Athletes presented by Mark Swanson, O.D., UAB Optometry and Vision Science; John Jones, O.D., Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Auburn University
  • Concussion in Football: What We Know and What We’re Doing About It presented by Dean Sicking, Ph.D., and Blake Feltman, UAB School of Engineering; Thom Houston, M.D., UAB Department of Neurology
  • Predictors of Return-to-Learn Post-Concussion presented by Laura Dreer, Ph.D., director of Concussion Research at Children’s of Alabama; Jilian O’Neill and Sarah Terry, UAB College of Arts and Sciences Medical/Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
  • Concussion Research Review at UAB, Children’s of Alabama, and our partnering institutions presented by Dreer; Weise

The event is sponsored by UAB Vision Science Research Center, Wise Up! Initiative and UAB Athletics. To attend the symposium, please contact Weise at kweise@uab.edu.