James T. Eckner, MD, MS –Sport Concussion

Member Highlight—August 2015

  • James T. Eckner, MD, MS (jeckner@med.umich.edu)
    • Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of Michigan
    • Director, Clinical Research, Michigan NeuroSport

What is the focus of your current injury research?

I am involved in several areas of research that address various aspects of sport-related concussion.  My main area of interest is concussion biomechanics, more specifically the neck’s influence on post-impact head motion and concussion risk.  This summer I am working on an Injury Center-funded pilot study in which an 8-week exercise intervention designed to strengthen the neck muscles is administered to male and female youth athletes.  This study will determine the effect of a neck strengthening program on athletes’ neck size and strength, as well as how their heads move when we apply small standardized test forces to their heads in a lab setting.

Why is this interesting to you?

This is very interesting to me because neck strength represents a potentially modifiable risk factor for concussion.  This means that neck strengthening interventions hold promise as a potential way to reduce an athlete’s concussion risk.

What is the next area of research that you would like to pursue?

The more I learn about concussion biomechanics, the more I realize we don’t understand.  The next area I would like to pursue is the biomechanical threshold for sustaining a concussion.  If we can develop better head impact sensors capable of more accurately measuring an athlete’s head movement in the field, and if we can better define the relationship between head motion and brain tissue deformation, then we may be able to use head impact sensors to identify those collisions that are most likely to cause a concussion as well develop better helmets and other strategies for preventing concussions.  

Click here to view Dr. Eckner’s Michigan Experts profile. 

Publication Date: 
Monday, July 27, 2015
Article Type: