Concussion Research

Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries, have received tremendous attention recently. Increased reports of persistent post-concussion symptoms and long-term cognitive and neurobehavioral consequences have contributed to growing public health concerns. Regardless of severity, post-concussion symptoms can lead to increased absence from school and work, impaired cognitive performance, and poor quality of life, all of which can be burdens for concussed individuals and their families. Researchers in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery Concussion Program at UTHealth are striving to improve patient outcomes by advancing how sports-related concussions are reported, diagnosed, treated, and managed.

In collaboration with biomedical and neuroimaging experts, our team is leading efforts to identify clinical, biochemical, and structural features that are associated with the short- and long-term effects of single and repetitive sports-related concussions. Current studies examine the role of these features in various aspects of concussion, including gender differences in recovery and whether these critical factors can be used by healthcare providers to identify patients who may be at risk of delayed recovery. Furthermore, our researchers are evaluating innovative, wearable technology that can be used immediately after a concussion to provide relief from acute symptoms and minimize the likelihood of persistent ones developing. To improve patient outcomes further, the Concussion Program has ongoing studies that examine the unmet educational and emotional needs of patients and their families, with the goal of addressing these needs to improve knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding concussions and concussion-related disorders. Through our efforts, researchers in the Concussion Program are dedicated to translating our findings into real-life applications that will enable patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to make informed decisions that lead to better prognoses for concussive injuries.

For additional information regarding any of our studies, please contact Research Associate, Lorie Gonzalez, Ph.D. at 713-486-3435


“Factors that Affect Concussion Education and Attitudes of Student-Athletes and Their Parents”
The goal of this project is to collect information that will help identify factors that must be addressed in developing an effective educational intervention that will enhance: 1) reporting of suspected concussion by student-athletes and 2) compliance with proper concussion management and treatment.

“Hypothalamic Hormone Levels in Female Adolescent Athletes Following Sport-Related Concussion”
The goal of this project is to evaluate whether post-acute emotional distress and/or hypothalamic hormone levels in female concussed athletes are associated with chronic post concussive symptoms and delayed recovery.

“Multimodal Brain Imaging and miRNA Biomarker prognosticators of clinical recovery following sport related concussion in adolescent athletes”
The purpose of this study is to conduct a longitudinal investigation of unique differences in clinical features, biomarkers, and neuromaging that may distinguish concussed adolescents with normal recovery from those with prolonged recovery.

“Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Educational Support of the Wives of Former Players of the National Football League”
The goal of this study is to examine the educational and emotional support provided to the wives of former NFL players with respect to CTE. Results of our study will help healthcare providers and organizations develop more effective health-related educational programs.

“Long-Term Outcome of Repetitive Sport-Related Concussion in Athletes: A Pilot Study”
This pilot study is aimed at closing the above gaps by obtaining long-term follow-up data of single and repetitive SRC sustained by high school athletes including imaging, clinical interview data, and neuropsychological findings. Within this study, we also propose to collect preliminary data from female athletes to support the validity of measuring P4 and E2 from saliva.