Concussion Research

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan, under the guidance of Dr. James T. Eckner, works across multiple departments and inter-disciplinary clinics within the University of Michigan system to facilitate treatment, research, and education related to traumatic brain injuries.

Research Goals

  • Assessment of mild traumatic brain injury in athletes using novel approaches. This line of work includes the development and evaluation of a clinical measure of simple and complex reaction time, as well as the evaluation of an EEG-based measure of brain network activation patterns 
  • Prevention of mild traumatic brain injury in athletes. This line of work involves the evaluation of the neck's role in controlling head motion following the application of external forces to an athlete's head, as well as the development and evaluation of neck strengthening interventions in athletes 
  • Detection of mild traumatic brain injury in athletes using biomechanical head impact profiles. This line of work involves the use of body-worn sensors to assess head impacts sustained by athletes in vivo, as well as the assessment of biomechanical head impact profiles and the relationship between impact biomechanics and brain tissue deformation
  • Assessment of the short- and long-term effects of concussions and non-concussive head impact exposure in athletes. This line of work involves the prospective, longitudinal assessment of athletes' neurocognitive health using a battery of clinical assessment measures

Research Publications

Am J Sports Med. 2014 Mar;42(3):566-76. doi: 10.1177/0363546513517869. Epub 2014 Jan 31. Effect of neck muscle strength and anticipatory cervical muscle activation on the kinematic response of the head to impulsive loads. Eckner JT, Oh YK, Joshi MS, Richardson JK, Ashton-Miller JA.

Greater neck strength and activating the neck muscles to brace for impact are both thought to reduce an athlete's risk of concussion during a collision by attenuating the head's kinematic response after impact. However, the literature reporting the neck's role in controlling postimpact head kinematics is mixed. Furthermore, these relationships have not been examined in the coronal or transverse planes or in pediatric athletes.

Patient Appointment Information

Dr. JT Eckner

James T. Eckner
Michigan Neurosport Clinic
4000 Ave Maria Dr. Lobby A, Suite 1000
Ann Arbor MI 48105

To make an appointment call: 734-936-9020
Map and Directions to the Clinic