ATSU Sport Related Concussion Research

Quick Facts About Concussion

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.6-3.8 million sport-related concussions occur annually
  • These injuries account for approximately 9% of all high school athletic injuries
  • Nationwide estimates suggest that sport-related traumatic brain injury hospital charges are $6 million annually
  • Concussion is diagnosed through a clinical examination based on mechanisms of injury and the patient's symptoms
  • Current imaging techniques cannot diagnose a concussion
  • Assessments of cognition, balance, and oculomotor function are often used to gain insight into the effects of the concussion
  • Cognitive and physical rest are initially prescribed to allow time for the brain to heal
  • A stepwise approach is taken to gradually increase cognitive and physical activity until the patient is ready to return to school and physical activities
  • In adults, most concussions resolve in 7-10 days
  • Children need a longer time to recover, but most recover in 3-4 weeks

What is the ATSU Concussion Program?

A.T. Still University's (ATSU) Concussion Program serves as a resource for sport-related concussion education, research, and service for young athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators.

Outreach services are provided to athletes in Arizona to include education, baseline (pre-season) testing and post-injury concussion evaluation.

The program also provides training and education about concussions to athletes, coaches, parents, athletic trainers, athletic training students and other healthcare providers.

Additionally, ATSU's Concussion Program is engaged in numerous research projects focusing on concussion awareness, assessment tools and interventions to enhance recovery.

About Program Director, Dr. Tamara Valovich McLeod

The program is under the direction of Tamara Valovich McLeod, PhD, ATC - professor and director of the athletic training programs on ATSU's Mesa campus. She received her bachelor's degree in sports medicine from Mercyhurst University and her master of science in kinesiology from the University of Colorado. Dr. McLeod completed her doctor of philosophy degree in education with an emphasis in sports medicine from the University of Virginia. She is also a fellow of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA). She is the director of ATSU's Arizona School of Health Sciences' Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory and the Athletic Training Practice Based Research Network. Her research has focused on the pediatric athlete with respect to sport-related concussion.

Dr. McLeod was a contributing author for NATA's position statement on the Management of Sport Related Concussion. She also serves on the writing team for the update to this NATA position statement. She was a consultant and contributing author on the Appropriate Medical Coverage for Secondary School-Aged Athletes and chaired the writing group for NATA's Pediatric Overuse Injury Position statement. Dr. McLeod serves as a section editor for the Journal of Athletic Training and on the editorial board for the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, Athletic Training and Sports Health Care. She also serves as a reviewer for numerous journals and publishes frequently in the athletic training and sports medicine journals.


We are excited to be involved with several research studies to better understand sport related concussion in the young athlete.

The Effects of Headache on Health-Related Quality of Life in Following Sport-Related Concussion.
Funded by the National Headache Foundation. March 2009-June 2010

The goal of this project is to assess the headache-related quality of life and to collect "sport injury impact" narratives from adolescents with sport-related concussion, identify the meanings they attribute to that concussion, and qualitatively determine the effects of concussion and headache on their HRQOL.

The effect of sport-related concussion on cognition, balance, symptoms and health-related quality of life in adolescent athletes.
Funded by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). February 2010-June 2012.

This project aims to: 1) assess the immediate and prolonged effects of concussion on HRQOL in adolescent athletes, 2) asses the relationship between the measures of impairment (cognition, balance and symptoms) and disability (HRQOL), 3) compare the effect of sport related concussion and musculoskeletal injury on HRQOL in adolescent athletes within the first 10 days post-injury and 4) collect "sport concussion impact" narratives from adolescents with sport related concussion, identify the meanings they attribute to that concussion, and qualitatively determine the affects of concussion on their HRQOL.

Evaluating the Influence of Concussion Education on Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Regarding Concussion among Youth Athletes, Coaches, and Parents.
Funded by the National Operating Committee on Standard s for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). February 2012.

The aim of this project is to to describe the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding concussion among a group of youth athletes, parents, and coaches and to evaluate the effectiveness of two pre-season educational interventions on the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding concussion among these same individuals.

Concussion Education

Dr. McLeod is available to present sport-concussion information to youth sports organizations, schools, and clubs. She has spoken nationally and internationally on pediatric sport related concussion issues and can direct presentations to athletes, parents, coaches, school administrators, and healthcare providers.

Contact Us

Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, PhD, ATC, FNATA
John P. Wood, D.O., Endowed Chair for Sports Medicine

Professor and Director, Athletic Training Programs
Director, Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory
Director, Secondary School Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network
Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
Arizona School of Health Sciences
A.T. Still University
5850 E. Still Circle
Mesa, AZ 85206
(PH) 480-219-6035
(FX) 480-219-6100