At UCLA, our approach to traumatic brain injury (TBI) is three-pronged. We provide clinical care, pursue both clinical and basic science research, and are involved in community outreach and education. Clinically, we have a multidisciplinary approach to sport-related concussion and pediatric TBI. Our Sports Concussion clinic treats athletes participating in all levels of competitive sport participation, from school-aged children to the professional level. Our pediatric TBI clinic provides care for children with all severities of traumatic brain injury, and any persistent neurological and/or cognitive issues including headache, school difficulties, seizures, etc. Our patients can receive comprehensive neurological exams and/or brief pencil and paper neuropsychological testing with a licensed neuropsychologist. For our athletes, we also provide computerized neurocognitive testing at baseline and follow-up. We have a referral network that includes spine specialists, orthopedists, primary care sports medicine, neurorehabilitation, and neuroimaging. Our clinic provides multidisciplinary neurological and neuropsychological care to current and former professional athletes as well as Iraq and Afghanistan military service members through Operation Mend.
The newly established UCLA Steve Tish BrainSPORT Program focuses on concussions sustained during athletics and recreation. SPORT stands for Sports concussion Prevention Outreach Research and Treatment program. It is a comprehensive concussion assessment and care program, providing participating local schools with the same level of care provided to our collegiate athletes, in keeping with the most recent (2013) evidence-based standards for concussion management. Our program contributed to both the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Injury Prevention (CDC) recommendations for concussion treatment, and follows these protocols in caring for youth athletes.
In conjunction with the Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) we also perform outreach, educating the community about traumatic brain injury and sports concussion. We have educational sessions for the community-at-large, athletic trainers, school administrators, and other physicians in both small-scale lectures and large symposia. The BIRC also supports the research arm of our Pediatric TBI program, with research in animal models of TBI and epilepsy, endocrine issues, and repeat injury. From a clinical research standpoint we are currently participating in the multi-institutional National Sports Concussion Outcomes Study (NSCOS) following athletes of all ages after injury. We are also investigating neuroimaging and neuropsychological correlates of symptoms after TBI of all severities.
Neurologist, Specialized in Sports Concussion and TBI
Director, UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program
Christopher Giza leads the Pediatric TBI/Sports Concussion program at UCLA. Eminently qualified, he served as Vice-Chair for the California State Athletic Commission, traveled to Afghanistan in 2011 as a civilian advisor to the Department of Defense and Co-Chaired the American Academy of Neurology's committee, which developed an evidence-based Practice Guideline for Management of Sports Concussions in 2013. Dr. Giza serves on the Center for Disease Control's Pediatric mild TBI committee, the NCAA Concussion Task Force and the Major League Soccer Concussion Program Committee. He is currently a Professor of Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital.
A graduate of Dartmouth College, Dr. Giza received his M.D. from West Virginia University and completed his internship at the University of Pennsylvania. He then trained in Adult and Pediatric Neurology at UCLA, after which he worked on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team. In 1998, he returned to UCLA and joined the Brain Injury Research Center in the Department of Neurosurgery. His research interests include neuroplasticity, recovery from injury, sports-related concussions, post-traumatic epilepsy and brain development.
Neurologist, Specialized in Sports Concussion and TBI
Meeryo Choe grew up in the Los Angeles area, traveled east to attend Amherst College, and then returned to L.A. to attend medical school at USC. She came to UCLA in 2004 for pediatrics residency and child neurology fellowship. After completing training, she decided to put her personal interest in sports and professional interest in the developing brain together as a Neurotrauma/Sports Neurology Fellow with Dr. Christopher Giza. In clinic, Meeryo has been seeing patients with traumatic brain injury, with a focus on sports-related concussion. Her clinical and research interests include post-traumatic headache/migraine, gender differences in outcome after concussion, and dysautonomia. An avid equestrian competing in show jumping and former swimmer, Meeryo coaches at a local high school as well, giving her a unique perspective on an athlete's desire to return to his/her sport and the outside pressures they might experience.
Appointments & Referrals - Phone: (310) 825-0867
Administrative Office - Phone: (310) 825-6196
Sue Yudovin, RN, MN, CPNP
Nurse Practitioner, Specialized in Sports Concussion and TBI
Sue Yudovin is a pediatric nurse practitioner in the Division of Pediatric Neurology at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. She is an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Nursing. She received her Bachelor's in Nursing from California State University, Los Angeles and her Master's in Nursing as well as her nurse practitioner from the UCLA Graduate School of Nursing. Sue is a member of the traumatic brain injury/concussion team and participates in the evaluation, assessment and clinical/research care of the pediatric patient with all severities of brain injury. She focuses on outcomes of children after TBI, and has presented research at national child neurology and neurotrauma meetings.
Talin Babikian, PhD, ABPP
Clinical Neuropsychologist, Specialized in Sports Concussion and TBI
Talin Babikian is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry within the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Babikian earned a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology from Loma Linda University in 2005. She completed a predoctoral internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (currently the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior), focusing on developmental disabilities and pediatric neuropsychology. Dr. Babikian is actively involved in research using novel neuroimaging techniques to understand neurocognitive outcomes and the course of repair and recovery following a brain injury in childhood and has authored multiple publications on this topic, including a comprehensive meta-analysis summarizing the state of the current literature on head injury outcomes. She has also developed expertise in outcomes and their predictors following mild brain injury or concussions in youth, and helped develop the multi-disciplinary sports related concussion clinic at UCLA to serve the neurological/medical, cognitive/academic, and psychosocial needs of children, adolescents, and adults with sports related injuries.
Clinic and Research Coordinator
Jesse Fischer earned his BA in psychology and kinesiology at Occidental College, where he played 4 years of college football. His clinical and research interests include the neurocognitive assessment, recovery, and treatment of patients with brain injury, as well as the school performance of students after injury. He has coauthored several abstracts in TBI/concussions and is primary author of a poster studying school performance after pediatric TBI. As a former collegiate athlete, the issues of sports concussion awareness and proper management of concussions have become vital parts of his work. He works with the UCLA TBI-SC program to increase school and community education of traumatic brain injury and sports concussions. Jesse assists with patient scheduling and follow-up for the UCLA TBI-SC Program and looks forward to continuing work in clinical neuropsychology.
Clinic and Research Coordinator
Max Zeiger earned his BS in neuroscience from the University of Michigan. He began his research and clinical work in the field of sports-neurology as an undergraduate research assistant at the Michigan NeuroSport clinic, investigating recovery from sport-related concussions and post-traumatic migraines. Following graduation he decided to continue developing his passions for sports, neuroscience, and traumatic brain injury at the UCLA Pediatric TBI-SC program. He works with the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT program to increase school and community education of traumatic brain injury and sports concussions. Max assists with patient scheduling and follow-up for the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program. His clinical and research interests include post-traumatic headache/migraine, recovery and treatment of patients with brain injury, as well as evaluation of different clinical tools for assessment and management of concussion.
The UCLA Sports Concussion & Traumatic Brain Injury Program in the News
UCLA Concussion Clinic