With a generous donation from Art and Greta Rooney and the Pittsburgh Steelers, University of Pittsburgh physicians and scientists will expand clinical trials of treatments for concussion. Under Director Michael (“Micky”) Collins, professor of orthopaedic surgery, the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program has identified phenotypes of concussion, and the donation will help support research on therapies for these distinct clinical profiles.
Collins says that support from the Rooney family has directly led to groundbreaking advances in diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
“We are learning more and more about risk factors that make people more susceptible to the effects of concussion, like migraine history and motion sensitivity,” Collins says.
Collins’ research team at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program includes full-time staff, as well as numerous Pitt graduate and med students. Thanks to this gift, Collins says they will also be able to hire the first Ambassador Dan Rooney Research Fellow. Named for the late Ambassador Rooney, the fellow will help direct research efforts for the UPMC Concussion Network in Ireland, where there are seven clinics throughout the country.
The UPMC Concussion Program is the largest clinical and research concussion program in the world. Elite athletes from around the country travel to Pittsburgh for care.
“The support we have received over the past two decades from the Rooney family and Steelers,” says Collins, “has allowed our program to thrive.”
“Greta and I, as well as everyone connected with the Steelers, recognize the value of having some of the world’s most prominent, well-respected and knowledgeable concussion experts in our city,” Art Rooney says. “The medical research that is being conducted by the team of medical professionals at UPMC is very important to our community, not just for those who actively participate in sports, but everyone in our Western Pennsylvania region who might suffer an unfortunate head injury.”