One of the leaders of a massive study by Indiana University on concussions among athletes says a recent funding commitment from the NCAA and the Department of Defense will help further research the long-term effects of brain injury. Thomas McAllister, director of the administrative and operations center for the Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium, says what is learned from the study could benefit all walks of life beyond just sports.
The NCAA, which is based in Indianapolis, and the DOD announced in October they were committing $22.5 million to expand the multi-year study, which began in 2014. The study involves nearly 40,000 student athletes from 30 colleges and military academies, about one-third of which are female.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business sports contributor Bill Benner, McAllister says a sports-related injury is typically referred to as a concussion but at its essence, it’s a mild brain injury.
"Mild brain injury can occur in all walks of life in all kinds of circumstances," said McAllister. "In fact, in the military population, some 80 percent of the folks who suffer a brain injury suffer that outside of the theater of war. So, one of the driving forces behind the partnering is that we feel that the information that’s gleaned from the college athletes and from the military service academy folks can actually shed all sorts of light on injury in the entire population."
McAllister is also the chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine. He says studying sports injuries allows researchers to study people before they get injured and track the natural progression of the injury itself.