Tag Archives: Ray Anderson

Conquering Concussions

ASU, TGen Team Up for Concussion Research

Riddell, the leader in football helmet technology and innovation, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a leader in cutting-edge genomic research, today announced that the Pac-12’s Arizona State University and its Sun Devil football program will again participate in a genetic research study designed to advance athlete concussion detection and treatment.

Now in its second year, the joint research project will combine molecular information and head impact data from Sun Devil football student-athletes to identify whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable. The researchers will monitor the players’ changing molecular information throughout a season of typical head impact exposure associated with football practice and games. Representatives from the Sun Devil medical team and TGen will collect the molecular samples from the participating athletes, all of whom volunteered to partake in the study.

“This partnership represents another dynamic and innovative step toward ensuring that the health and well-being of our student-athletes remains our most important goal,” Vice President for Arizona State University Athletics Ray Anderson said. “Sun Devil Athletics continues to serve as a pioneering force in this important issue and is proud to participate in this world-class research study for the second consecutive year with two outstanding industry trendsetters in Riddell and TGen.”

Arizona State’s preferred helmet and protective equipment provider, Riddell, has again deployed its Sideline Response System (SRS) to obtain real-time head impact data from Arizona State football student-athletes. Riddell SRS provides researchers with a wide range of valuable information on the frequency and severity of head impacts a player receives during games and practices. Data gathered from the system will be combined with genetic information from players that experience concussion, with the objective of helping physicians diagnose concussion and better identify when a player might be expected to recover and return to the field.

“Player protection has become an essential part of football, and this cutting-edge partnership sets ASU apart from not only the rest of the conference, but every collegiate football program in the nation,” ASU Head Coach Todd Graham said. “We are not only looking out for our student-athletes while they are enrolled at ASU, but for the rest of their lives. You become a part of the brotherhood once you put on the maroon and gold, and that doesn’t end at graduation.”

Riddell will also utilize the player head impact data collected from the ASU and TGen research partnership to inform the development of new football helmets and further refine updates to smart helmet technologies like Riddell SRS and its recently launched Riddell InSite Impact Response System.

“We’re impressed by the enthusiasm exhibited by our partners, Arizona State University and TGen, as we enter the second season of our important research collaboration,” President of Riddell Dan Arment said. “They have matched our level of passion for football, and we are all committed to better protecting those that play the sport we love. We are left encouraged following the first year of our project and look forward to continuing on the path towards advancing concussion detection and treatment of athletes.”

The researchers at TGen are exploring whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable through blood-based molecular information. Their findings could prove pivotal to the game of football and other sports. Similar to last season, during this phase of the study the TGen faculty and staff are on the sidelines collecting samples and data. A baseline sample was collected from all participating players prior to their pre-season workouts. Since then, the researchers have followed the team through their daily workouts and will continue throughout the season.

Through the collection of samples over various points in time and the data generated by Riddell SRS, the goal is to identify the genomic changes in athletes exposed to routine head impacts during practice and games, athletes with diagnosed concussions that recover on both a routine time scale, and athletes with persistent symptoms following concussion that require additional treatment.

“As the mother of a young son who has played football, I’m keenly aware of the need to improve the current standards in place today for dealing with this issue,” said TGen Associate Professor Dr. Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, whose technique for studying the collected samples drives this unique partnership. “As a researcher whose daily work looks for ways to determine the early warning signs of head injury, I get to see first hand how committed Arizona State University and Riddell are to student-athlete safety, and their determination to improve the game at all levels.”

Following the season long campaign, the researchers will gather post-season data and begin the analysis process with their colleagues at Barrow Neurological Institute and A.T. Still University. During this process, TGen will work closely with Barrow, whose B.R.A.I.N.S. (Barrow Resource for Acquired Injury to the Nervous System) program treats patients who have sustained a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury. The Barrow data will provide the researchers with additional concussion data and allow for comparison between data sets.

Top Ten Sports Bars, Photo: Clintus McGintus, Flickr

ASU unveils innovative sports law programs

If you want to work with professional sports teams, big sporting events or promising student athletes, then you may be interested in the innovative new sports law and business program officially being launched this week by Arizona State University. The highly ranked Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU are collaborating on two new sports law graduate degrees you can earn in just one year. Classes begin this fall.

“I’ve worked in the sports law field for three decades, and can see we need professionals who have training in both law and business to help work on regulatory and revenue issues in the sports industry,” says professor Rodney K. Smith of the College of Law, director of the new programs. “I don’t know of any other program in the country that offers a master’s degree like this with just a single, intensive year of study.”

The two new one-year degrees are a master of legal studies (MLS), for those without a law background, and a master of laws (LLM), for those who already graduated from law school. In each program, students will work on 18 to 21 credits from the law school, and six to nine credits from the W. P. Carey School. This includes an externship, which might be for a professional sports team, a sports law firm or even a big event like a college bowl game. The programs are going to be small and personalized, accepting fewer than 30 people each in their first year. They will also focus on team-based learning and look at real-world issues, such as stadium problems, player unionization and contract negotiations.

Ray Anderson, ASU vice president of university athletics and a former executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League, will be a professor of practice in the programs. He wanted to be part of a high-quality sports offering, and this one is located in a metropolitan area with three professional sports teams, major golf events, college football bowl games and even next year’s Super Bowl.

“I am proud to be a part of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Sports Law and Business Program because it is the only one of its kind to offer a sports-focused graduate program that combines the strengths of a top law school with a top business school as its foundation,” Anderson says. “One of the reasons I came to Arizona State University from the National Football League is because of the vibrant Phoenix sports market, with its combination of sporting events representative of all major sports leagues and organizations. This fact, combined with a premier research university, will produce top-quality learning experiences for students in the curriculum.”

Courses in the new program will encompass both law and business areas, including “Sports Business Strategy and Industry Dynamics,” “Negotiations and Drafting in the Sports Industry,” and “Problems in Professional Sports Law and Business.” Big-name speakers from the world of sports are expected to participate, as well.

“The sports industry is complex and expanding,” says marketing professor Michael Mokwa of the W. P. Carey School. “The new program will provide skills and savvy for individuals seeking to make a real difference in the field.”

For more information about the new one-year degrees, visit law.asu.edu/sportslaw. A three-year juris doctorate program will also be added this fall for those who want to pursue their law degree with an emphasis in sports law and business.