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IRONMAN Sports Medicine Concussion Program Director to Lead Concussion Study in Female Athletes

HOUSTON (April23, 2015)

Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute Sports Concussion Program Director Summer Ott, Psy.D., will lead a study focused on the consequences of sport-related concussions on female adolescent athletes. The study recently secured funding with a $60,000 grant from the Moody Endowmentin Galveston, Texas.

 The goal of the two-year pilot study is to determine whether the duration of concussion symptoms in female adolescent athletes is related to the reporting of emotional distress shortly after a sports-related concussion is suffered. Dr. Ott will conduct the study with researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and the UT Medical Branch and Transitional Learning Centerin Galveston.

 “The affects of concussions in female adolescent athletes have been largely understudied and thus, not understood,” Dr. Ott said. “We are hoping to change that. We observe many female adolescent athletes who experience lingering post-concussive symptoms and delayed return to play following a single concussion.”

 While these symptoms have been clinically observed, there is a relatively small amount of data compiled on sports-related concussions in female adolescent athletes, according to Dr. Ott.  

 “The majority of recent research on sport-related concussions in school-aged athletes has focused on male participants,” Dr. Ott said. “A great amount of media attention on sports-relatedconcussions has been devoted to elite athletes but the greatest impact of the injury may occur inyounger athletes whocan be at greater risk for a lengthy recovery and long-term neurological and neurocognitive problems.”

 Athletes ages 13 to 16 years old take longer to recover from a concussion than those who are 18 to 22 years old, according to the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. 

 Dr. Ott, a neuropsychologist who is also an assistant professor in the UTHealth Medical School Department of Orthopedics, has co-authored publications on neuropsychological assessment in scholarly journals and frequently conducts presentations regarding proper concussion management. Her current research interests include gender differences in recovery from sports concussion and proper baseline testing of athletes.

 Dr. Ott was a catalyst behind Texas Senate Bill 2038, also known as Natasha’s Bill, which established proper management and return-to-play guidelines in Texas for school-aged athletes who have sustained a concussion. She is also sharing the lead with researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and UTHealth on a study funded by the National Football League and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke that is focused on how to determine if complete recovery has occurred in high school-age athletes who have suffered a concussion.

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About Memorial Hermann

An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and more than 20,000 employees, serves to advance health in Southeast Texas and the Greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann’s 13 hospitals include four hospitals in the Texas Medical Center: an acute care hospital which houses the Texas Trauma Instituteand a Level I trauma center of which Life Flight®air ambulanceis a part, a hospital for children, a rehabilitation hospital and an orthopedic and spine hospital; eight suburban hospitals; and a second rehabilitation hospital in Katy. The system also operates three Heart & Vascular Institutes, the Mischer Neuroscience Institute, three IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute locations, joint replacement centers, cancer centers, imaging and surgery centers, sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, outpatient laboratories, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. As an Accountable Care Organization, the system also offers employers health solutions and health benefit plans through its wholly owned Memorial Hermann Health Insurance Company.