Mayo Clinic Neurologist Joins President Obama’s Dialogue on Concussions
PHOENIX — David Dodick, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and an expert in concussion care and research, joined other medical experts and President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit today.
The summit is a White House initiative to raise awareness of the increasing rate of concussions among young athletes, and to develop an action plan to protect the safety and health of youth athletes who participate in sport. Medical experts, coaches, parents and players joined President Obama to talk about safe sports.
The White House asked the panelists to submit a list of key concussion initiatives to the summit organizers. Dr. Dodick submitted Mayo Clinic efforts including:
- Rochester Minnesota Youth Study - In an attempt to better understand the impact of youth football on the developing brain, and develop rapid and reliable tools to diagnose concussion and monitor its recovery, this study will be evaluating pre- to post-season changes in cognitive functioning as measured by a computerized cognitive assessment test and eye movement analysis as measured by the King-Devick Test with Tobii Eye Tracking technology.
- Comprehensive Concussion Solution for Arizona Schools - Mayo Clinic will expand its efforts to ensure the safety and brain health of youth athletes across Arizona by implementing a comprehensive concussion for youth athletes. This will involve a state-wide concussion educational program for middle and high schools, standardized and evidence-based strategies to reduce the risk of concussion, ensure the accurate diagnosis of concussion at the time of injury, and manage the safe return-to-learn and return-to-play decisions for all concussed youth athletes.
- Reduce Concussion in Amateur Ice Hockey - Mayo Clinic held two major International Ice Hockey Summits on Concussion in 2010 and 2013 in Rochester, Minnesota. Global experts (clinicians and scientists) in concussion, equipment, officiating, kinesiology and professional athletes participated. The proceedings were published as a call to action and as a result, body checking in pee-wee hockey was eliminated by Hockey Canada and USA Hockey. As a result of the 2013 Summit, Mayo Clinic has proposed the elimination of fighting from junior ice hockey.
- Together with collaborating scientists across multiple institutions around North American and Europe, Mayo Clinic is actively engaged in the development of clinical biomarkers for the diagnosis of and recovery-monitoring from concussion.
- Mayo Clinic and collaborating scientists at Arizona State University are evaluating concussion-induced activation of molecules within the brain that stimulate dormant stem cells within the brain. The hope is that this research may reveal future targets for treatment that will limit the damage and enhance the repair of injured brain tissue after concussion.
- Mayo Clinic is attempting to determine the precise nature of the injury to the brain, at a cellular level, from the rotational and acceleration forces encountered during hits to the head in ice hockey players.
- Mayo Clinic is embarking on a study to evaluate the effectiveness of an oral medication, administered at the time of concussion, to prevent or minimize the brain injury and symptoms that typically occur after a concussion. To date, no such study investigating a treatment to prevent the cascade of events that occur in the brain after a concussion has been performed in athletes.
Dr. Dodick is the Program Director of the Mayo Clinic Neurology Residency Program and Headache Medicine Fellowship Program. He is the Medical Director of the Headache Program as well as the Concussion Program at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Dr.Dodick has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and co-authored 8 books. He serves as Editor in Chief of Cephalalgia and is on the editorial board of several journals including The Neurologist, Postgraduate Medicine and Lancet Neurology. He is the Immediate Past-President of the American Headache Society, Chair of the American Migraine Foundation, and President-Elect of the International Headache Society.
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