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Rethink concussion

Research at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program

The UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program is the leading clinical concussion research program in the world. Our track record includes hundreds of published, peer-reviewed papers across 2 decades.

Our faculty publish, on average, 40 impactful and innovative research articles each year in high-impact journals, including:

  • JAMA Neurology.
  • JAMA Pediatrics.
  • Pediatrics.
  • American Journal of Sports Medicine.
  • British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Through our research based on evolving clinical profiles and thorough assessments, we inform a more effective clinical approach to:

  • Assessing and treating concussion.
  • Using targeted treatment and rehabilitation strategies.

Concussion programs throughout the United States and the world have adopted our program's evidenced-based approach to concussion care, which focuses on:

  • Concussion awareness and education.
  • Comprehensive, multidomain assessment of concussion and associated risk factors.
  • Emerging, active concussion treatments and rehab.

About the Concussion Research Lab (CRL) at UPMC/University of Pittsburgh

Anthony P. Kontos, PhD, research director, and Micky Collins, PhD, executive director, lead the CRL.

The CRL includes over 2,500 square feet of research and office space.

We're located just a few blocks from the UPMC Freddie Fu Sports Medicine Center. This gives people taking part in concussion research studies easy access to our lab.

The CRL's 6 full-time research staff members include:

  • Research and project coordinators.
  • Research assistants.
  • Post-doctoral research fellows.
  • Doctoral and medical students.

The CRL houses cutting-edge research equipment including:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG) — brain imaging.
  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) — portable optical imaging.
  • Computerized neurocognitive tests.
  • Vestibular and ocular tests.
  • Force plate and accelerometers.
  • Research computers with a full host of testing and analysis software.

Our Concussion Research Partners

We have strong relationships with the Neuromuscular Research Lab (NMRL) and Warrior Performance Center (WPC) at Pitt, next door to the CRL.

This gives us access to a full suite of physiological assessment equipment and space including:

  • Treadmills.
  • Cycle ergometers.
  • Video motion capture systems.
  • Biometric devices.

Other strong research partners at Pitt include the Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC), the Eye and Ear Institute, and the departments of:

  • Neurosurgery
  • Ear, Nose, and Throat
  • Psychology, and Psychiatry
  • Physical Therapy

Through these collaborations, the CRL has access to:

  • Imaging including MRI, PET, and retinal scanning.
  • Peripheral vestibular testing.
  • Blood and saliva biomarker processing and analysis.

Outside of Pittsburgh, we've worked with academic and medical researchers from:

  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • Michigan State University
  • Rochester University
  • St. Joseph's University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami (FL)
  • University of Michigan
  • UCSF

We've also worked with the military, including:

  • US Army Special Operations Command at Ft. Bragg, NC.
  • First Special Forces Group at Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA.
  • Navy Medical Center at San Diego, CA.

And Defense and Veteran's Brain Injury Centers at:

  • Ft. Carson, CO.
  • Camp Lejeune, NC.
  • Landstuhl, Germany.

Concussion Research Funding

The CRL supports 8 to 10 externally funded clinical research programs yearly.

These projects involve randomized controlled trials (RCT) of:

  • Concussion treatments.
  • Advanced neuroimaging of concussion.
  • Assessment of blood and saliva markers of injury.
  • Long-term studies of brain health in former athletes.

Just some of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program's research funding sources include:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • National Institutes for Health (NIH).
  • Department of Defense (DoD).
  • National Football League (NFL).
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
  • Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research.

Find samples of our concussion research on Pub Med.

View the CRL’s 2020-2021 Research Summary (PDF).

Contact the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program

To learn more about us or make an appointment with a concussion expert, please call 412-432-3681 or complete our contact form.

Contact the Concussion Research Laboratory

To learn more or see if you qualify to take part in ongoing concussion research studies, please call 412-904-1298 or email