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Patients and medical professionals may call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information.

Patients and medical professionals may call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information.

Media Advisory:  Pro Sports Agent Leigh Steinberg and Nation’s Leading Sports Concussion Experts Convene in Pittsburgh Before the Start of Football Season

UPMC hosts conference to discuss newest scientific knowledge forcing doctors to re-think how to safely manage concussions in athletes of all levels

PITTSBURGH , July 21, 2008 — Treatment of concussions remains arguably the most complex and controversial issue in sports medicine for athletes of all ages, yet concussions occur in millions of athletes each year.

The good news is that new scientific research continues to provide clearer knowledge for team doctors and athletic trainers, helping them to recognize and quantify the symptoms and effects of concussions.  

On Thursday, July 24 and Friday, July 25, the country’s leading experts will convene at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh to share the newest information as UPMC Sports Medicine hosts “New Developments in Sports-Related Concussion.” This scientific conference will highlight the latest important research findings. A panel of experts will lead discussions and facilitate hands-on injury treatment workshops to an audience of more than 250 doctors, neuropsychologists and athletic trainers from the U.S. and abroad.

Top pro sports agent Leigh Steinberg will be a keynote speaker. Mr. Steinberg is regarded as the nation’s leading sports attorney and the inspiration for the popular film, “Jerry Maguire”.

“Leigh has been very passionate in his work with team doctors and athletic trainers to ensure that athletes of all levels, not just professionals, get the best possible care. He has been an active proponent of advancing scientific research that benefits everyone,” said Mark Lovell, Ph.D., director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and conference co-director. “We are both pleased and honored that he is participating in this important conference.”

According to Mr. Steinberg, “The specter of concussions in collision sports continues to be a largely undiagnosed health epidemic for which baseline neurocognitive testing is the best antidote. Dr. Lovell and UPMC are on the cutting edge of this with their critical research, providing new hope to millions of current and formerly afflicted athletes.”

“A long-standing national voice raising public awareness of this pervasive public health issue, Leigh has had a genuine impact on concussion management across the nation,” said Joseph Maroon, M.D., professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and long-time team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Other conference highlights will include:

  • Newest advances in brain imaging and their implications for injury management and recovery
  • Recently published groundbreaking data on age and gender factors that prove concussions should not be treated as a “one size fits all” injury
  • New, still-developing protocols for injury treatment that is changing the general “just rest” philosophy of treatment and includes medication and physical rehabilitation
  • New experiences with the management of high school athletes
  • Newest protocols for baseline and post-injury neurocognitive testing

“Managing sports-related concussions has changed dramatically over the past five years and is likely to continue to change as new research is completed and as we explore new medical treatments,” said Dr. Lovell. “One of the most important recent advancements has been the use of active rehabilitation programs like the one developed at UPMC to safely get young athletes back in the game.”

“There are still misperceptions out there about this injury, but we have proven, effective management protocols available for athletes of all levels,” added Michael (Micky) Collins, Ph.D., assistant director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and conference co-director. “Injury management is the key.” 

“For every concussion we see occurring at the professional sports level, there are tens of thousands of injuries at the high school level and below. This comprehensive meeting of experts will review the tremendous strides we are making for younger athletes as well as the pros,” said Dr. Collins.

The New Developments in Sports-Related Concussion Conference is co-sponsored by the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC.

About the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program

The UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, established in 2000, is an ongoing clinical service and research program that focuses on the diagnosis, evaluation and management of sports-related concussion in athletes of all levels. 

The program’s internationally known team of clinicians and researchers are world leaders in studying the neurocognitive effects of sports-related concussion, publishing groundbreaking scientific research involving high school and college athletes, and pioneering the development of better methods of post-injury evaluation to determine when it is safe for an athlete to return to sports.

NOTE TO MEDIA:

For permission to attend any portion of the conference or to arrange interviews with Mr. Steinberg, Drs. Lovell, Collins or Maroon or any of the conference presenters, please contact Susan Manko, UPMC Media Relations at mankosm@upmc.edu, 412-647-3555 or 412-551-0743.

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