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NBA names University of Michigan sports neurologist to lead new concussion program

Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., will direct NBA Concussion Program, which includes return-to-play protocols and education for players, coaches

Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, a leading authority in the field of
sports neurology, is named director of the new NBA
Concussion Program.

 ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The National Basketball Association today announced the institution of a concussion management program, led by a University of Michigan Health System neurologist, that’s designed to safeguard the neurological health of NBA players through a comprehensive framework of education, clinical management and data collection and analysis.

The program went into effect at the start of training camp.

Among the highlights of the new NBA program:

  • Hiring Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., as the director of the NBA Concussion Program. Kutcher, associate professor of neurology at University of Michigan, is a leading authority in the field of sports neurology and the chair of the section of sports neurology for the American Academy of Neurology.
  • Providing annual training and education to players, coaches, and team medical personnel, tailored to their specific role and consistent with the evolving science of concussion management.
  • Annual baseline testing of players, including both a neurological exam and a computerized cognitive assessment tool.
  • A customized post-injury concussion assessment tool and multi-stage return to play protocol. In order to maximize the consistency of care throughout the league, all return to play decisions will be discussed with Dr. Kutcher before the player returns to competition.
  • The documentation and aggregation of all data related to a concussion, and its diagnosis, management and outcome.

Kutcher is director of Michigan NeuroSport, where he works with and treats athletes from a variety of sports including soccer, ice hockey and wrestling at all levels.

He is the team neurologist for the U-M and Eastern Michigan University athletic programs. He also has been instrumental in crafting the concussion policies of the NCAA, Big Ten and Mid-American Conference.

Concussions are being treated more seriously, as evidence is mounting that repeated impacts to the brain typical in sports injuries can have lasting impacts.

Just how concussion affects the brain has been a hot topic as the National Football League and National Collegiate Athletic Association have established committees to study how to best protect their athletes.

 

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