Milwaukee's Impact On Concussion Research

Oct 9, 2014

Credit House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats / Flickr

Researchers and institutions working on the issues of concussions in sports have come to the fore with high-profile injuries at the professional and near-professional collegiate level, but they're also prevalent in everything from youth sports to recreational leagues.

But what is less well-known is how Milwaukee came to play such a pivotal role in concussion research, and what sort of coordination exists between the medical and athletic communities here.

They're part of the story reporter Rich Rovito covers in an in-depth feature in this month's Milwaukee Magazine.​ He speaks with Mitch Teich on why this city is in the position it is, and reveals that Milwaukee has been part of concussion research long before high profile cases have put the issue in the spotlight.

"Research has been going on here for a very long time, kind of undercover and without much fanfare," Rovito say.

Many organizations such as GE Healthcare and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin have long been involved in concussion studies, particularly with youth contact sports.

While the science and lawsuits have shown the negative side effects of concussion, Rovito says, "it's a very touchy and sensitive issue, and talking about being injured...athletes want to be on the field, they want to play."

But now with more athletes, sports organizations and parents of athletes getting involved, there is a turning point in taking appropriate precautions and following different protocol at the sign of a concussion to prevent permanent damage to the brain.

"You've got these issues where the coaches now have to be more cognizant of what's going on and they have to be very careful about how they handle this," Rovito says.