Big Ten, Ivy Join Forces to Study Head Injuries

By LUKE MEREDITH | June 22, 2012

The Big Ten and the Ivy League are putting their heads together to address sports concussions.

The leagues announced plans to combine research efforts devoted to studying head injuries, a collaboration that will link studies initiated separately by the Big Ten in 2010 and the Ivy League last year.

The leagues said they want to be national leaders “at the forefront of significant change” in examining concussions among young adults.

“It will provide an incredible boost to our ongoing efforts while reinforcing the priorities of institutional research and reciprocity between some of the nation’s top academic organizations,” said Sally Mason, the president at the University of Iowa and the chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors.

Among other efforts, the collaboration will continue work on a concussion management plan started by the Big Ten and a “return to play” checklist plan developed by the Ivy League. The Ivy in 2011 implemented a series of recommendations designed to lower concussion rates in football.

The Big Ten has conducted a summit on head injuries and created a data-sharing platform. Researchers at Purdue also gained national attention last fall for a study of high school athletes on the connection between concussion symptoms and neurological impairment.

According to Cornell University president Dr. David Skorton, who used to be the president at Iowa, combining efforts simply made sense.

“We look forward to working with the Big Ten to continue to study the effects of concussions and head injuries in sport,” said Shirley Tilghman, the Ivy League Council of Presidents chair and the president at Princeton University. “By pooling our expertise and resources, our institutions aim to significantly expand upon the research needed to improve long-term, concussion-prevention measures.”

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