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UNC concussion researcher receives MacArthur 'genius grant'

Posted September 20, 2011

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher has received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in recognition of his work to treat sports-related concussions and improve athletes' safety.

Kevin Guskiewicz, chairman of UNC's Department of Exercise and Sports Medicine, will receive $500,000 over the next five years as one of the 22 new fellows named by the MacArthur Foundation of Chicago.

Guskiewicz said he would use the money to support ongoing research at UNC into concussion injuries and sports.

"The MacArthur Fellowship will help us expand our work into developing injury prevention strategies and rehabilitation protocols for concussion that can help to preserve sports as we know it today," he said in a statement.

Guskiewicz first became concerned about concussions when he was an athletic trainer with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the early 1990s.

With retired NFL players, he documented a high correlation between athletes who suffered multiple concussions and the early onset of neurodegenerative changes, such as depression and dementia, after retirement from sport.

He advises the National Collegiate Athletic Association and National Football League on concussions and head, neck and spine injuries. He also helped write concussion guidelines recommended by the NCAA, NFL, National Athletic Trainers' Association and American College of Sports Medicine.

Guskiewicz said he is not seeking to fundamentally change football or other contact sports but wants to help coaches and players find ways to stay safe.

"Concussion is a very complex injury. Managing this injury effectively is sort of like piecing together a puzzle. Piece by piece, we gain a clearer picture of concussion and its severity," he said. "As scientists, coaches, administrators and doctors, we bear the responsibility of keeping our athletes safe."

UNC leaders praised Guskiewicz for his work and recognition.

"Kevin Guskiewicz is a wonderful example of how a faculty member's innovative research – both in the lab and in the field – advances knowledge that saves lives," said Chancellor Holden Thorp. "He has become one of the go-to experts in America when it comes to the widespread problem of sports-related concussions. We are thrilled and proud that the MacArthur Foundation has selected him for such important recognition."

19 Comments

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  • Objective Scientist Sep 26, 2:53 p.m.

    "Just like all the other college and expert "Researches" done 5,10 20 years ago.In 10 years from now it will be known to be bogus.Just another government cover up to get somebody some more money." - post by Uhavenoclu

    Uhavenoclu... you are the one "who has NO clue"!!! Pray tell what part of Guskiewicz'a research is part of a "government cover up"??? There is neither anything to do with a cover up nor anything that is "bogus" about his research! You... simply put - do NOT know what you're talking about!!! Are you one of those who find fault with everything... just for the sake of finding fault??? Sure looks that way to me! Guskiewicz's research is "top notch"!!!

  • Shelley Cooper Sep 21, 12:26 p.m.

    maybe he can help some of the posters here

  • vraptor Sep 20, 7:12 p.m.

    How about child concussions from sports??? A 15 year old niece of mine was green lighted to go back to sports after she got a concussion from a soccer ball to the head to get another concussion. Sore topic between my sister and me. I would not let her play sports again until she was 18.

  • BrightLight Sep 20, 6:08 p.m.

    Maybe he can help the UNC football program to which the NCAA is getting ready to give a concussion.

  • geosol Sep 20, 5:59 p.m.

    EXCELLENT!! Congratulations on your award, Dr. Guskiewicz, and thanl you for devoting your life to public service and helping to keep athletes and others safe. We need more out there like you!!!

  • Uhavenoclu Sep 20, 5:59 p.m.

    Just like all the other college and expert "Researches" done 5,10 20 years ago.In 10 years from now it will be known to be bogus.Just another government cover up to get somebody some more money.

  • Shamrock Sep 20, 5:39 p.m.

    "But I bet this guy couldn't turn on a light switch without first reading the instructions."
    hunter38

    bet you were never given 500k.

  • OSX Sep 20, 4:52 p.m.

    hunter38...But I bet this guy couldn't turn on a light switch without first reading the instructions.

    You say that like it is a bad thing. Common sense folks read the directions any more. The best thing to teach you how to read directions is to go buy some Ikea furniture. You will learn quickly.

    Congratulations to this guy. I am sure his work will save hundreds if not thousands of lives some day. I am sure we will hear of his accomplishments in the years to come.

  • hunter38 Sep 20, 3:23 p.m.

    But I bet this guy couldn't turn on a light switch without first reading the instructions.

  • Lblum Sep 20, 3:08 p.m.

    awarwick~I am so sorry, I cannot even begin to understand your pain.

    mrsmom: Really? WOW.

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