Our Research

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a bump or a jolt to the head or body—such as a fall, a car accident or a sports injury—that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. Repeated concussions can lead to a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which causes progressive damage to brain tissue and often debilitating, life-changing symptoms.

The more we know about concussions and how to prevent and treat them, the better we’re able to protect children and adolescents from long-term brain damage and conditions like CTE.

ImPACT data

Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) is the most widely used, scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. The data includes information on more than 10,000 visits of high school athletes, in three separate studies administered by multiple investigators across a multidisciplinary team at Children’s. Researchers are analyzing the data to examine the effects of concussion on girls and boys, symptoms that affect recovery, and return-to-play decisions.

Learn more about ImPACT.

Functional MRI (fMRI) study

Functional MRI (fMRI) uses MRI technology to measure brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. Researchers are using fMRI, along with morphometry (an imaging technique that detects differences in brain anatomy) and cardiovascular techniques to assess high school football players’ frontal lobe function. Their research includes neuropsychological testing (tasks to measure psychological function) and ImPACT to monitor recovery of function and symptoms affecting our community’s athletes. This grant-funded initiative is open through the current football season.

Researchers are conducting additional studies to:

  • Compare athletes with concussions with normal controls to assess advanced neuroimaging techniques in return-to-play decisions.
  • Look at concussion at various times following the injury using a computerized test (CNS Vital Signs) of neurocognitive functioning.

Learn more about our sports-related concussion studies.

Outcomes study

We are analyzing data from our outcomes study on concussion education and the effect it has had on practice patterns for local pediatricians. Using our online continuing medical education (CME) modules, the Children’s Concussion Program offers primary care physicians convenient access to continuing education materials to provide consistent, quality care at a cost-effective price.

Meet the principal investigator:

Thomas G. Burns, PsyD, ABPP, CN

Our mission is to facilitate research to help improve treatment and outcomes

We are working to find out more about concussion, its possible effects and how best to help patients fully recover. Your patients might benefit from participation in one of our research projects.

Learn more