Dr. McMurtray, has been appointed to the NFL Concussion Settlement Appeals Advisory Panel

September 2017

The Sports Concussion Institute’s chief neurologist, Dr. Aaron McMurtray, has been appointed to the NFL Concussion Settlement Appeals Advisory Panel. This panel consists of 5 medical experts who settle disputes regarding qualified diagnoses under the Baseline Assessment Program (BAP) guidelines.

Retired NFL players are eligible to receive a BAP evaluation, which consists of both a neurological examination and a neuropsychological evaluation. The neurological examination typically lasts 30 minutes and consists of the neurologist performing a review of neurological signs and symptoms. The neuropsychological evaluation can last up to 6 hours and includes completing a number of pencil-and-paper type tasks as well as several computer-based measures. Players are asked to complete tasks that assess their memory, problem solving ability, attention and concentration, and emotional functioning. An examiner is there to help guide the retired athletes through each task in order to gain an accurate picture of how their brain is functioning.

A select group of Sports Concussion Institute’s Neurologists and Neuropsychologists are participating as Qualified BAP Providers and Qualified MAF Physicians in the National Football League Players’ Injury Concussion Litigation Settlement Program.

Under the guidelines of the settlement program, SCI is managing a network of board-certified neurologists and neuropsychologists to provide comprehensive evaluations of retired professional football players. Eligible players receive a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation with an ABPP board-certified clinical neuropsychologist in addition to a neurological evaluation with a board-certified neurologist.

SCI is expanding nationwide and eligible settlement members will be able to receive their neurological and neuropsychological evaluations at any one of SCI’s provider locations. SCI is currently managing a network of providers in multiple states, including New York, DC, North Carolina, New Jersey, Florida, and Georgia.

For additional information, please visit www.nflconcussionsettlement.com

(SCI) Named Provider-Manager in the Concussion Settlement Program for Retired Professional Football Players

July 2017

Los Angeles, California – A select group of Sports Concussion Institute’s Neurologists and Neuropsychologists are participating as Qualified BAP Providers and Qualified MAF Physicians in the National Football League Players’ Injury Concussion Litigation Settlement Program.
Under the guidelines of the settlement program, SCI is managing a network of board-certified neurologists and neuropsychologists to provide comprehensive evaluations of retired professional football players. Eligible players receive a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation with an ABPP board-certified clinical neuropsychologist in addition to a neurological evaluation with a board-certified neurologist.

“We are committed to providing athletes, wives, caregivers, and parents with information and quality neurological care. Our aim is to safely facilitate a return to play for concussed athletes, and providing retired players with treatments and proper care for life after sports” said Dr. Tony L. Strickland, Founder, and CEO of SCI, Board-Certified Clinical Neuropsychologist, and Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

According to Dr. Hayley B. Kristinsson, Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellow at SCI, “Here at SCI we work with athletes on a daily basis and have tailored our services to meet the unique needs of this population. We want to help athletes through this process and ensure that the evaluation is not only highly accurate but will help athletes and families find the resources they so desperately need.”

In addition to conducting neuropsychological and neurological evaluations for retired football players as part of the settlement program, SCI provides comprehensive neuropsychological clinical care for a wide variety of neurobehavioral disorders. Some of SCI’s services include individual psychotherapy, cognitive rehabilitation, neurological consultation, baseline testing, among other services in order to provide individuals with evidence-based treatment and evaluation of a wide variety of neurological and psychological disorders.

SCI is expanding nationwide and eligible settlement members will be able to receive their neurological and neuropsychological evaluations at any one of SCI’s provider locations. SCI is currently managing a network of providers in multiple states, including New York, DC, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Florida.

All of SCI’s providers are highly experienced in working with professional athletes and possess extensive knowledge regarding the neurological effects of repeated head injury. SCI staff also work directly with administrators of the concussion settlement program and are highly knowledgeable about policies and procedures regarding these evaluations. Above all, SCI is committed to providing athletes with top of the line evaluation and treatment of the neurological sequela of sports related concussion.

Special Report: Is There Life After Sports?

January 2016

“You’re Not Crazy!” : Drs. Tony L. Strickland and Paul G. Longobardi of the world-renowned Sports Concussion Institute discuss the anxiety and stress many professional athletes face when dealing with career threatening injuries, retirement or who have been released from their teams.

by Tony L. Strickland, M.S., PH.D. and Paul G. Longobardi, PH.D.

Imagine this scenario. John, who worked for ABC Corporation for 17 years, arrives at work to find out his job has been eliminated. John experiences a maelstrom of emotions including shock, anger, embarrassment, betrayal, anxiety, grief, loss of confidence, and worry, frustration and disbelief. He doesn’t know where to go or what to do. Unfortunately, “John’s” situation occurs on a daily basis across America.

With increased frequency, this scenario occurs among professional athletes who suffer career threatening injuries, retirement, or who are released from their teams. In the world of professional sports, these are major challenges for individuals who must compete for their jobs on a daily basis. Stress may build to the point where an athlete’s reaction to such life-altering events can include a range of emotions, including grief, devastation, anger, bitterness, alienation, identity loss, loneliness, anxiety and fear, as well as loss of confidence. Moreover, associated feelings of helplessness, depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, domestic violence and even suicide may be considered or, unfortunately occur. Notably, this spectrum of emotional turmoil may be experienced by the athlete’s loves ones who suffer right along with him or her.

The above mentioned psychological and behavioral reactions are anticipated responses to highly stressful circumstances in most individuals, including athletes. Anxiety and depression are frequent symptoms when athletes face a life without their sport and the accompanying adulation, camaraderie, sense of mastery/accomplishment, and the attainment of elite professional status with its associated benefits.

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, particularly when faced with a work problem or making an important decision such as ending a career. Anxiety “disorders” are different. For people with anxiety disorders, worry, fear, and tension can cause enough distress to interfere with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But when feelings of intense sadness last for days to weeks and keep a person from functioning normally, the emotional dysphoria may be something more than sadness. It may very well be clinical depression, a treatable medical condition. If an athlete has thoughts of wanting to harm him/herself (suicide) or other people (homicide), we recommend several immediate steps. First, do not keep the thoughts/feeling to yourself. Share them with someone you trust, and seek professional help. At the same time, promise them not to do anything right away (i.e. give yourself some distance between thoughts and actions). If you cannot honestly assure them that you will not act on your suicide/homicidal thoughts, you must seek professional help immediately. Avoid drugs and alcohol; they only make thoughts of self-harm, or harming others stronger. Make your home safe by removing things you can use to hurt yourself/others, and go somewhere where you feel safe. Finally, take hope in the knowledge that the overwhelming majority of people do survive the painful feelings you may be having now. But do get professional help! Anxiety and depression may manifest in being aloof, moody, irritable, sad, tense, edgy, and sometimes explosive. However, there is nothing “crazy” or psychotic about the stress reactions. This is a common misconception keeping people experiencing stress from seeking help (i.e. “They’ll think I’m crazy”). It’s not true today. But untreated grief, loneliness, depression and anxiety can lead to unhealthy and adverse outcomes. Think of the job loss transition as a grief reaction, such as when we lose a loved one. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote the five stages or grief and loss to include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. If you think of the end of a playing career as a major loss, which it is, then you will see that most players go through a very normal sequence of stages. And don’t forget that the professional athlete is not retiring at age 60 or 65 but much younger, facing a longer life in retirement. At least until a new career develops for the post-professional athlete.

Some themes which have come out of the neurobehavioral research indicate that the professional athlete’s post-sport adjustment may also depend on other factors, including having a range of social support instead of being isolated, the strength of their athlete identity outside of athletics. That means while playing, did they have a life with people out of sports of were all their friends athletes? Finally, how much pre-retirement planning did the athlete do for life after sports? More planning is healthier and more protective. Having a strong spiritual foundation also has been found to buffer the pain of anxiety and depression.

No matter what you experience as an athlete or the loved one of an athlete, there are resources available to assist you. At the Sports Concussion Institute, we specialize in the comprehensive treatment of sport-induced neurobehavioral injuries. We have resources to help with the emotional, cognitive, and neurological consequences of post playing life. There is good life before, during and after sports – it just may look and feel differently at each stage.

Dr. Aaron McMurtray, Medical Director of Sports Neurology for SCI publishes three articles in peer reviewed journals

April 28, 2015

 

1) Calcified parenchymal central nervous system cysticercosis and clinical outcomes in epilepsy.
Leon A, Saito EK, Mehta B, McMurtray AM.
Epilepsy Behav. 2015 Feb;43:77-80. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.12.015. Epub 2015 Jan 5. PMID: 25569744

 

2) Does primary headache type influence secondary headache symptoms?
McMurtray A, Saito E.
J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2014 Apr;5(2):111-2. doi: 10.4103/0976-3147.131644. No abstract available.  PMID: 24966543

 

3)  Acute Psychosis Associated with Subcortical Stroke: Comparison between Basal Ganglia and Mid-Brain Lesions.
McMurtray A, Tseng B, Diaz N, Chung J, Mehta B, Saito E.
Case Rep Neurol Med. 2014;2014:428425. doi: 10.1155/2014/428425. Epub 2014 Sep 18.  PMID:25309765

Brain Games: Understanding the Science behind Concussion Testing

March 23, 2015

The Sports Concussion Institute-Atlanta, participated in an interactive evening that promoted concussion awareness and sports safety hosted by the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, GA. Neurological testing at baseline and after a concussion is a critical part of any comprehensive concussion program. However, it is hard to grasp the significance of a concussion without understanding some basic neuroscience. SCI-Atlanta staff, Cheryl Appleberry (athletic trainer), Dr. Ellie Zimmerman (neuropsychologist), Dr. Cayleigh Benny (neuropsychology fellow), and Dr. Russell Gore (medical director) prepared fun and interactive games to explain the neuroscience behind the brain functions used in everyday life and disrupted after a concussion. This demonstration included balance, reaction time, vision, and neurocognitive tests used to evaluate these brain functions.

For more information please go to: http://atlantasciencefestival.org/sports

SCI presents on Sports Concussion Management at Los Robles Hospital to physicians and nurses

February 13, 2015

Dr. Tony Strickland (CEO and Chairman of SCI), Dr. Aaron McMurtray (Medical Director of Sports Neurology), and Sidney Jones (Athletic Trainer) presented on the pathophysiology, assessment, and clinical management of sports related concussions to hospital physicians and nurses. They discussed the importance of taking a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to the return to play and learn process.

Dr. Gore, Co-Investigator with Emory University and Georgia Tech Research Team is awarded $500,000 brain research grant.

November, 13, 2014

The NFL, in association with Under Armour and General Electric awarded Dr. Gore, Co-Investigator with Emory University and Georgia Tech Research Team a $500,000 brain research grant in the Head Health Challenge II.  Researchers and engineers from this research team developed a prototype medical device that can screen and assess concussions in near-real time. The portable device, known as iDETECT, can be used on the sidelines of sporting events. It consists of a headset and handheld device that rapidly assesses the player’s symptoms, including cognitive function, balance and eye movements.  Dr. Gore is the Medical Director for Vestibular Neurology and Rehabilitation at SCI-Atlanta.

For more information on this grant, please see: http://www.nflevolution.com/article/nfl,-under-armour,-ge-announce-head-health-challenge-ii-winners?ref=0ap3000000427468

 

 

SCI presents a sports concussion management instructional course at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Conference (ACRM)

October 7-11, 2014

Dr. Tricia Kasamatsu, Dr. Angela Yi, and Dr. Jose Posas presented a 4-hour instructional course entitled “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Sports Concussion Management” at the 91st annual ACRM conference held in Toronto on October 7-11, 2014. The presentation reviewed the latest research, telehealth approaches, and provided clinical models of multi-disciplinary collaborations in the management of sport-induced concussions.  The ACRM is an organization of rehabilitation professionals dedicated to serving people with disabling conditions by supporting research that promotes health, independence, productivity, and quality of life and meets the needs of rehabilitation clinicians and people with disabilities.

More information about ACRM can be found at:  www.acrm.org

 

 

 

Dr. Angela Yi Joins the Long-Term Medical Issues Panel of BIAA /Mount Sinai TBI Rehabilitation Guidelines Project

As part of its mission to advance research and appropriate treatment for people with brain injuries, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) announced in July that it has awarded a grant to the Brain Injury Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The grant funds a three-year investigation to develop Guidelines for the Rehabilitation and Disease Management of Adults with Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Fifty of the nation’s top researchers and clinicians, as well as family members of people with brain injuries, were selected to review and assess evidence in functional, medical, cognitive, behavioral, and social domains. They held their first meeting September 9 and 10 in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Yi is the Director of Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation at the Sports Concussion Institute and specializes in assessing and treating individuals with traumatic brain injury across the severity spectrum.

“Individuals who sustain TBIs rarely have access to rehabilitation of sufficient timing, scope, duration, and intensity that would allow them to recover to the maximum extent possible,” said Susan Connors, President and CEO of BIAA. “When a person’s care is delayed, discontinued, or denied altogether, the result is often increased re-hospitalization rates and greater levels of disability. This creates a cycle of joblessness, homelessness, and dependence on public programs.”

BIAA and Mount Sinai are addressing this problem head-on. During the next three years, panelists will:

  1. Identify and fully describe the continuum of care available following TBI;
  2. Determine the evidence for various rehabilitative treatments and, based on that evidence and/or expert opinion, make recommendations for treatment and management in various settings;
  3. Produce a document that supports improvements in the quality and consistency of rehabilitation treatment; and
  4. Broadly disseminate the recommendations to payer, provider, patient and advocacy communities in an effort to increase access to care.

The goal of the project is to learn how much rehabilitation adult patients with moderate to severe TBI should receive, in what setting, and at what time. BIAA and Mount Sinai have pledged to keep the brain injury community fully informed and invite input and feedback at certain key points along the way. Visit www.biausa.org/TBIGuidelines for more information.

Dr. Angela Yi presents an ACRM Cognitive Rehabilitation Training Workshop at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

August 16-17, 2014

ACRM Cognitive Rehabilitation Manual Faculty Dr. Angela Yi, Dr. Donna Langenbahn, and Rebecca Eberle, presented a 2-day training workshop for rehabilitation professionals at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on August 16-17, 2014. The workshop focused on teaching evidenced-based interventions of executive functions, memory, attention, hemispatial neglect, and social communication. The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) is an organization comprised of various disciplines in rehabilitation medicine and strives to translate and make accessible evidenced based research.

For more information, please see: http://www.acrm.org/meetings/cognitive-rehab-training/#live-training