UCLA to Establish Concussion Treatment Program

Program billed as world's most sophisticated for research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment

LOS ANGELES - UCLA will establish what it bills as the world's most sophisticated research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment program for concussions and brain injuries, with a particular emphasis on young athletes.

The UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program will include the first U.S. fellowship program to train pediatric neurologists who specialize in sports concussions.

The fellowship, research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs was enabled by a $10 million pledge to the department of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA from movie producer and New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch.

The pledge, described by UCLA as the single largest gift from an individual to a medical center for a concussion-related initiative, will be announced today by President Barack Obama at the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports concussion Summit.

``UCLA runs one of the best youth concussion programs in the nation, and I'm honored that my gift will allow the program to accelerate and expand its efforts to help kids, parents and coaches understand how to prevent and treat concussions and enjoy the sports that they love,'' Tisch said.   The BrainSPORT (Brain Sports concussion Prevention Outreach Research and Treatment) Program was founded in 2012 by UCLA's Dr. Christopher Giza and will be renamed the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program.

``Mr. Tisch's generous gift will be an enormous game-changer, enabling us to create diagnostic tools customized to younger athletes," said Giza, a professor of neurosurgery and pediatric neurology at the Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA who will participate in today's White House summit.

``Currently, young athletes are assessed with adult tests -- but kids aren't little adults. With the right diagnosis and personalized care, kids can recover completely from concussion."

Giza said his immediate goal is to develop an age-appropriate concussion-evaluation tool that blends baseline testing, recordings from advanced biomechanical sensors, and expert neurological and cognitive exams.

The tests will measure a concussion's severity, determine the treatment and guide plans for the affected athlete's return to competition.

Tisch's pledge will also support the development of a national system to accurately determine the incidence of youth sports-related concussions.

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