BrainSPORT in the News

President Barack Obama acknowledges the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program at the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit at the White House. 

obama concussions

Headline News

Football Coaches Struggle to Recruit Young Players as More Parents Heed Warnings about Brain Injury Risks

Jan 25, 2019
By Kim Brunhuber - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. "You guys better follow the ball!" yells Michael Wagner, coach of the El Segundo Little Eagles. The young football players, all of them under the age of 14, converge on the running back in a tangle of teenage limbs. Their skinny bodies and oversized helmets may give them the appearance of little bobbleheads, but the hits are so hard their parents can hear them from the stands.

Out From the Dark: Sam Shields’ Two-Year Journey Back from Concussion

Jan 09, 2019
By Michael McKnight - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. It was just one of those plays—in the 2016 season-opener, the Packers’ Pro Bowl corner went in for a clean tackle and came up groggy. Suffering the after-effects of concussion, Sam Shields spent days and months in darkness, shut off from the world, before finally determining to battle back. Two years on, he’s a key defensive and special-teams cog on a Rams club with Super Bowl aspirations.

For Kids With Concussions, Less Time Alone in a Dark Room

Sep 17, 2018
By Perri Klass, MD - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a major new guideline on diagnosing and managing head injuries in children on Sept. 4, the product of years of work and extensive evidence review by a large working group of specialists in fields ranging from emergency medicine and epidemiology to sports injuries to neurology and neurosurgery.

Should You Let Your Kid Play Football? Here’s The Truth About Concussions

Sep 17, 2018
By David H. Freedman - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. These days it’s hard to have a conversation about football without the topic of concussions arising. Which makes sense. Research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy—the degenerative brain disease that seems to be caused by repeated blows to the head—is exploding and explosive.

Taking a Closer Look at the Biomarker Test for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

May 22, 2018
By Rebecca Voelker, MSJ - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Not long after a first-of-its-kind blood test received approval to evaluate patients with mild traumatic brain injury, headlines dubbed it a “concussion test.” But experts in biomarkers are clarifying certain misconceptions about what the test can and can’t reveal.

What to Do if You Suspect You or Your Child Has a Concussion

Mar 08, 2018
By Lisa L Lewis - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Don’t ignore a hit to the head, which can cause brain injury. Find out the warning signs you should pay attention to, and where to go for help. Athletes aren’t the only ones who get concussions. Taking a hit to the head can happen off the playing field, too, as a result of car crashes, falls, or other scenarios. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls were the leading cause of all TBI-related emergency room (ER) visits in 2013 for kids under 14 and for adults 25 or older.

Why The Future of The NFL May Rely on Fixing The Concussion Protocol

Jan 02, 2018
By Ian McMahan - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. In a sport of hard hits, the NFL has taken more than its share this season. Off the field issues have drawn more attention than the play on the field – particularly the debate over kneeling and the national anthem—and football’s ever-present nemesis, concussions, remains one of the NFL’s biggest problems.

In Recovery From Sports Concussions, State of Mind Really Does Matter

Nov 17, 2017
By David Olmos - Featuring Dr. Doug Polster. UCLA researchers are incorporating talk therapy to help athletes cope with emotional effects of their head injuries. When a student-athlete suffers a concussion, one of their biggest concerns is getting back to the playing field as soon as they are well. While the physical symptoms of their brain injury may fade after a week or two, for a small minority of them the emotional recovery is longer and more complicated.

Are Youth Football Programs Doing Enough To Prevent Concussions?

Nov 02, 2017
CBS Los Angeles - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Football season is in full swing, and with it, comes questions and concerns for parents across Southern California. Many think of helmets are enough for safety, but is the game too rough to play? KCAL 9’s Randy Paige reports experts say parents need to do their homework to protect these young minds.

Sports Concussions May Last Longer in Girls

Oct 04, 2017
By Diane Umansky - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Studies suggest that risk and recovery time may vary by gender. Experts explain how to keep all young athletes safe. "We know the risk of concussion is greater for girls than boys when playing sports with the same rules—soccer, basketball, baseball/softball—multiple studies support this," says Christopher Giza, M.D., a professor of pediatric neurology and neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program.

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries in Football: What We Know We Don't Know

Sep 08, 2017
By Rebecca Boyle - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. (Inside Science) Gerry Gioia’s 3-year-old grandson already enjoys kicking a ball around. He might grow up to be an athlete, like his mother and his grandfather. Gioia hopes organized sports will give his grandson a lifetime of fun, friendships, lessons about endurance and loss, and countless physical benefits. But if he wants to play football or another contact sport, will he be safe? That’s the hardest question for doctors like Gioia to answer.

When in doubt, sit it out! Pediatric concussion—an update

Sep 06, 2017
By Julia M. Kerrigan MD and Christopher C. Giza MD. Concussion is a major public health issue that has received much publicity in recent years. Reported concussions are increasing across all ages, including the highest rates in pediatric age ranges. Due to the age-related physiological responses and differential recovery of symptoms after concussion, special consideration must be given to youth concussions. Concussion can affect each child differently and likely affects children differently than adults. Until the past decade, there has been a scarcity of scientifically rigorous studies examining concussions in children. This increasing amount of research and consensus has begun to influence the definition, evaluation, management, return to school and play recommendations, prevention, and education relating to pediatric concussion. The purpose of this article is a review of relevant research published in the last few years (2015–2017) with highlights of these updates summarized for clinical use.


Concussion - Child Neurology Foundation

Aug 29, 2017
By Julia M. Kerrigan MD and Christopher C. Giza MD. A concussion is a biomechanically induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) characterized predominantly by recoverable brain dysfunction. Across the spectrum of TBI, it is often referred to as “Mild TBI (mTBI).” Despite this term, it is a potentially serious injury that needs careful evaluation. A concussion often is the result of a direct hit to the head, but can also happen from a blow to the body that causes the movement of the brain within the skull. The brain is floating in fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) and sudden forceful movement can cause the brain to bounce and twist around, hitting against the skull, causing stretching of brain cells, and chemical changes in brain function.

Neural Analytics Enrolls First Patient in Clinical Study to Evaluate Transcranial Doppler Analytical Platform for Monitoring of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Aug 10, 2017
By Neural Analytics Inc. - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza & Dr. Meeryo Choe. “Understanding the pathophysiology of a concussion is very important to treating patients in a timely fashion,” said Christopher Giza, MD, Director of the UCLA Steve Tish BrainSPORT program and co-Principal Investigator of the study. “The findings of this study can potentially help us identify the subtle changes that aren’t easily detected using current diagnostic methods in treating and managing individuals with mild TBI.”

UCLA Neuroscientist Offers Game Plan to Better Understand Sports Concussions

Jun 21, 2017
By Elaine Schmidt - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Hospital emergency rooms treat more than 170,000 children each year for sports-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What do parents and coaches need to know about sports concussions in order to protect their kids and players?

Parents Encouraged to Update Their Approach to Treating a Child with a Concussion - Vital Signs Winter 2017

Jan 25, 2017
A lot has changed since the days when athletes who got their “bell rung” while playing contact sports would be sent back out onto the field. Today, concussions are taken much more seriously amid concern about their long-term effects.

FDA Expands Criteria for Nonsurgical Aortic-Valve Replacement - Vital Signs Winter 2017

Jan 11, 2017
UCLA has emerged as a leading center in the United States for a minimally invasive alternative to surgical heart-valve replacement. The procedure, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), is for patients with aortic valve stenosis — a common and potentially fatal form of heart disease — who might not be good candidates for surgery.

Concussion Researchers Spark Hope With a New Tool to Diagnose Brain Damage

Sep 27, 2016
By Eric Boodman - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. The diagnosis begins with the brain being pulled out of the skull. Then, to determine whether someone had a condition associated with repeated concussions, the pathologist preserves the tissue in formalin, slices it thin enough for light to shine through, washes it with chemicals, and peers at it through a microscope.

6 Concussion Symptoms Everyone Should Know How To Spot

Sep 10, 2016
By Amy Marturana - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. A concussion is the most common type of brain injury. While usually associated with high-impact sports like football and hockey, professional athletes aren’t the only ones at risk. Anyone who plays full-contact sports, or even soccer and basketball, can get a concussion.

Many Parents Don’t ollow Doctors’ Advice On Children Suffering Concussions, Study Finds

Sep 07, 2016
Dr. Max Gomez, CBS - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Children suffering concussions are a big problem, especially with football and soccer season here. Two million children will go to the emergency room for sports-related concussions this year as millions more will suffer outside a doctor’s office. CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported parents who are dealing with a child’s concussion may actually be making matters worse because many of these children whose symptoms persist may not be getting the best care.

Most parents likely to follow outdated advice when caring for a child with a concussion, UCLA survey shows

Sep 05, 2016
UCLA Health - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. A new national survey, commissioned by UCLA Health, reveals that a vast majority of parents may be following outdated advice when caring for a child with a concussion, and it could be making their child’s symptoms worse. "This survey really illustrates just how far the pendulum has swung in terms of caring for children with concussions," said Dr. Christopher Giza, a pediatric neurologist and director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program.

Expert Explains Concussion Poll to NPR

May 31, 2016
National Public Radio - U.S. Cable - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. National Public Radio's All Things Considered aired a May 30 interview with Dr. Christopher Giza, director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, about the significance of a recent poll finding that one in four Americans reports having experienced a concussion.

Return to Play Protocol: Why it's so important it's followed

March 16, 2016
By Ben Kaplan - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Assistant Director of the Montana High School Association, Brian Michelotti's professional life centers around prep sports. But, he says, you don't have to work in athletics to be made aware of the dangers of concussions.

Outside the Ring: Dr. Meeryo Choe

March 13, 2016
By Jill Diamond - Featuring Dr. Meeryo Christa Choe. Dr. Meeryo Choe is presently recovering from a fall sustained while riding her horse. She knows firsthand the pain athletes go through when they put their bodies through sustained tests of skill and rigor. It’s worth it to her. Maybe that explains why she, a Pediatric Neurologist, approaches her work with such determination and drive. 

Anthony Alessi: Education is key to preventing concussions

February 09, 2016
By Anthony Alessi - Featuring Dr. Meeryo Christa Choe. Eleven high school students died in 2015 while playing football. Seven of those players lost their lives to brain injuries. The question now facing parents, physicians, athletes and coaches is whether more can be done to avoid severe brain injuries. Potential solutions may be centered on education, legislation and rule changes.

Huge Studies Peer Inside Brain, Blood to Unlock Mysteries of Concussion

January 15, 2016
By Usha Lee McFarling - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. An image of a concussed brain fills the computer screen, with shredded nerve cells lit up in red and orange. As Dr. Christopher Giza watches, the brain rotates. A time-lapse film shows the damaged cells cooling to green and blue as they slowly heal. This advanced imaging technique offers a rare look inside a traumatized brain and its complex recovery.

UCLA Experts Continue Research Revealed in “Concussion” Movie

January 11, 2016
Melanie Cole's Health Radio - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. In the newly released movie, Concussion, Dr. Bennet Omalu, a pathologist played by Will Smith, reveals the link between repeated concussions in football and long-term brain damage. Today, UCLA traumatic brain injury expert, Christopher Giza, MD, in the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA, has continued to advance this research and science of concussions on the brain for athletes and soldiers. 

Heads Up

January 01, 2016
By Wendy Soderburg - Featuring Dr. Christopher Giza. Thirty years ago, when athletes hit their heads, they were expected to “suck it up” and get back into the game. Today, however, with constant news reports about high school athletes collapsing after vicious hits and former professional football players suing the NFL over brain injuries, sports concussions are finally on the front burner.

Dec. 30, 2015
By Christopher Giza - Nearly 4 million people suffer concussions from sports and recreational activities each year. From boxing to baseball, football to hockey, there have been countless movies about sports. Whether it's the story of a long-shot athlete overcoming the odds or a team's improbable journey to the top, these movies often captivate and inspire us.

Concussions: Lattice Shape May Improve Safety Padding

December 24, 2015
By Benjamin Meyers - Padding in sports helmets and other places prevent injuries, including concussions. The lattice may be one new safety-enhancing shape to come for sports, transportation, and the military.

As ‘Concussion’ comes to theaters, Westlake trainer’s work takes center stage

December 23, 2015
By Rhiannon Potkey of the Ventura County Star - Scott Blatt couldn't fully grasp the disparity until he witnessed it himself. The Westlake High School athletic trainer was on the sideline of a passing league football game this year when a player from an opposing team took a hit to the head. .

UCLA joins program using helmet sensors that monitor head trauma and build data for concussion problem

December 23, 2015
By Joey Kaufman - Twelve years ago, Stefan Duma, a Virginia Tech engineering professor, left a U.S. military conference in Puerto Rico with an idea to better understand and treat the head injuries sustained by college football players.

Slight Signs of Lingering Brain Damage Seen in Young Athletes After Concussion

December 22, 2015
By Randy Dotinga, HealthDay Reporter - Young children may suffer minor, but lingering, brain damage from a single concussion, a small study suggests.

Release of ‘Concussion’ Begs the Question: Is the Risk Too Great to Play Contact Sports?

December 22, 2015
By Jenna Birch - It was a typical Saturday morning in September 2002 for Pittsburgh forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu, MD. He was on call to perform an autopsy. By a stroke of chance, he found Steelers legend Mike Webster on his table. Omalu, who was born in Nigeria and hadn’t ever paid much attention to American football, didn’t know Webster.

Everything We Know - and Don't Know - About Concussions

December 17, 2015
Public anxiety about concussions has soared in recent years and will likely jump again with the release of the movie “Concussion” this month. STAT combed the academic literature and talked with more than a dozen neurologists, biomedical engineers, neuropsychologists, and other experts to bring you the latest on the science of concussion.

UCLA Offers Tips to Reduce Concussion Risk for Teens

October 21, 2015
In sports with similar rules for boys and girls such as soccer, basketball and baseball/softball, girls have a higher rate of concussion than boys. Surprisingly, cheerleading is one of the sports with the highest risk of concussion injury, especially during practice. “There’s quite a lot of risk in cheering, mostly in the flyers,” noted Christopher Giza, M.D., a professor of neurosurgery and pediatric neurology who directs the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program.

UC Tackles Concussions

October 15, 2015
A few decades ago, when a football player got his “bell rung” with a hard hit to the head, he would shake it off, take smelling salts and return to the game. Times have changed.

Six Things Parents and Athletes Need to Know About Concussions

October 15, 2015
Playing sports has many benefits, from getting exercise to learning teamwork. But as awareness about the long-term consequences of concussion grows, parents and athletes are starting to wonder whether some sports are worth the risk.

Concussions End Student's Playing Days, But Now He's Trying to Help Others

September 24, 2015 
LOS ANGELES ( — One of the most life-changing risks of playing football is the potential for devastating blows to the head, and amateurs and professionals are both subjected to the dangers of head trauma. Trey Fearn is a teenager who works with UCLA neurologists to help protect the valuable cargo inside the helmet.

UCLA Clinical Update - Pediatric Sports Concussion Clinic Provides Multidisciplinary Expertise

September 01, 2015
Concussion in youth sports is a serious public health problem. Of the 1.5 to 4 million concussions occurring each year in the U.S., more than half are suffered by individuals under the age of 21.

Morgan Brian's collision raises scrutiny of FIFA's concussion rules

July 1, 2015
USA Today: Dr. Giza quoted by USA Today about sideline assessment of concussions in the setting of women’s World Cup Soccer.

Internal Medicine News: How to Manage Chronic Concussions.

June 29, 2015
Interview with Dr. Christopher Giza, director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program and a professor of pediatrics and neurosurgery at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children’s Hospital, about the latest in sports concussion management.

YouTube video: It’s Not Child’s Play: An Evidence-Based Approach to Youth Sports Concussions Wednesday.

June 24, 2015
UCLA pediatric neurologist Christopher Giza, MD discussed an evidence-based approach to concussions in young people that included understanding risk, conducting an initial assessment and ongoing clinical management. Participants learned how to evaluate and care for youth athletes with concussions.

The Los Angeles Times: Members of UCLA football team using helmets with sensors.

June 19, 2015
The Los Angeles Times reported that UCLA football players were using helmets with sensors to register head accelerations and help understand the forces underlying concussions and brain injury. The funding for these sensors was part of a much bigger donation provided by philanthropist and NY Giants co-owner Steve Tisch. Dr. Christopher Giza was quoted.

Health and Medicine News: UCLA scientists will monitor student-athletes to further explain biology of concussions

June 19, 2015
Dozens of UCLA student-athletes will participate in research by UCLA scientists that is expected to deliver new clues about the biological and genetic risk factors for sports-related concussions.

USA Today: FIFA fails to address concussion problem head on

June 10, 2015
Dr. Christopher Giza, director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program and a professor of pediatrics and neurosurgery at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children’s Hospital, was interviewed in a USA Today sports story about the International Federation of Association Football’s failure to address concussion in its athletes, particularly female soccer players.

The Washington Post: Sometimes what seems like a concussion is something else.

May 22, 2015
Dr. Chris Giza discusses post-concussive dizziness, even when sometimes the dizziness may be due to some other cause.

ABC News: UCLA Players Wear Sensor-Laden Helmets to Study Concussions

May 05, 2015
Football players at UCLA have started wearing sensor-laden helmets so researchers can study head-hits and concussions for the next three years, the school announced this week.

TIME: Pacquiao, Mayweather, and the Physics of Getting Punched in the Head

May 01, 2015
A prize fight might be thrilling but it's murder on the brain.

UCLA Study Examining Long Term Effects of Concussions, Contact

Feb 19, 2015 
Although identifying chronic traumatic encephalopathy was once only possible with deceased subjects, a new medical advancement could potentially allow living people to be tested for the concussion-related disease.

The New York Times: Limiting Rest Is Found to Help Young Concussion Patients

January 01, 2015
Experts recommend that young people who have suffered a concussion get one or two days of rest at home, until symptoms start resolving, before gradually returning to school and physical activity.

The Los Angeles Times: Football: Gov. Brown signs bill restricting contact drills

July 21, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law AB 2127, which prohibits football teams at middle and high schools from holding full-contact practices that exceed 90 minutes on a single day

Football Stars Will Screen Techniques For High School Players That Satisfy Proposed Law To Reduce Youth Concussions

June 26, 2014
Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon and Patrick Larimore, a former UCLA football team captain whose college career was derailed by repeated head injuries, will screen videos demonstrating football techniques that would satisfy California legislation aimed at preventing concussions during high school football practice.

California Newswire: Calif. Bill to Protect Youth Football Players Passes with Bipartisan Support, Sent to Gov. Brown - AB 2127

June 19, 2014
Calif. Bill to Protect Youth Football Players Passes with Bipartisan Support, Sent to Gov. Brown – AB 2127