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Dr. Broglio receives this year’s IHPI Policy Impact Award

Dr. Steve Broglio, Director of the University of Michigan Concussion Center, was honored with the Policy Impact Award at this year’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI) member forum. IHPI acknowledges individual members whose contributions in their respective fields have positively influenced health policy or practice. Dr. Broglio’s constant dedication to reducing the risk of concussion and enhancing outcomes at local, state, and national levels are the supporting factors behind his recognition this year.

Recipients of the award will receive $2,000 in funding to support ongoing research and will also be afforded the opportunity to present their work in forthcoming IHPI publications.

Dr. Broglio expressed gratitude to the university for providing ample resources and acknowledged the exceptional individuals from over 35 different departments who collaborate with his team at the U-M Concussion Center across campus.

“This is not about the work that I’ve done, it’s really about the work that people around me have done,” said Broglio. “I’m just the fortunate one who gets to stand up and receive the award this year.”

From the most fun he’s ever had doing research, to finding his career calling, this Q&A session with Dr. Eckner is guaranteed to entertain and inspire. Holding strong family values and a love for hockey, Dr. Eckner walks us through his aspirations for the future and explains how Nerf balls fit into the lighter side of concussion research. Use the link below for the full Q&A session.

Q: Can you tell me about your academic journey and how you ended up in your career?

A: I can’t claim to be one of those people who has always known exactly what I wanted to do with my life from a young age- growing up I had pretty broad interests and over time I narrowed them down from science in general (high school) to biology (college) to medicine (medical school, duh) to physical medicine & rehabilitation (residency) to concussion (post-residency). It was also during residency that I realized I wanted to pursue a career as a physician-scientist.  During medical school and internship, I envisioned a clinical career.  I credit my resident research mentor, Jim Richardson, with recognizing how much I enjoyed doing research, and that I had a knack for it!

Q: What inspired you to pursue your career field, and are there any specific moments that stand out in shaping your journey?

A: I’d credit my 4th-year medical school electives with solidifying my interest in PM&R.  After trying out all of the medical specialties I thought I might be interested in PM&R just seemed to be the place where I belonged.  From there, it was really my resident research project that led me to my current career.  As a resident, I took on a research project to develop a clinical test of reaction time based on a standardized ruler drop.  What I initially thought would just be a fun project during residency really ignited my passion for research and at first concussion was just a good clinical population to apply the RT test in.  This said, I have always loved the brain so my interest quickly broadened to encompass many aspects of concussion, and working with and studying athletes is a great way to marry my interests in clinical research, the brain, and sports.  Now one of the things that really drives me to understand the long-term effects of concussion and repetitive sport-associated head impacts on brain health is a desire to keep the brain healthy without losing out on the benefits of sport and exercise.

Q: Beyond academia, do you have any hobbies or interests that you are particularly passionate about? 

A: I think anyone who knows me realizes that my #1 passion is my kids.  Whether it’s their karate, soccer, scout campouts, science olympiad, or astrophotography, I’m very proud of all they do and I have a hard time not bragging about them and sharing our most recent adventures together.  Otherwise, I’d say my main hobby of my own is playing beer-league hockey.

Q: What is the best part about your job?

A: The best part about my job is the amazing people I get to work with and all of the challenges we take on together.  I love the collaborative aspect of the work I do, whether it’s in caring for patients, studying complex research questions, or educating the next generation of learners.  Focusing on concussion is also great because for all we know (or think we know) about the brain and brain injury, there is just as much if not more that we still haven’t figured out.

Q: Can you share a memorable or amusing anecdote from your time in academia that reflects the lighter side of research life?

 A: I’ll answer this by telling you about one of the most fun research projects I have ever done. In this project, we wanted to determine whether our clinical test of reaction time (ruler drop test) could predict an athlete’s ability to project their head in a simulated sport environment.  We way we measured this was to gear high school kids up with protective equipment and then shoot Nerf balls at their heads from an air cannon.  To be sure we were measuring their optimal protective response each time they blocked a neaf ball we moved them closer and closer to the air cannon until the ball hit their helmet before they could get their hands up.  The team and the kids all had a really fun time with this experiment and I had colleagues enroll their own kids just so they could watch us shoot them with Nerf balls in the name of science.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most exciting or groundbreaking development in your field in recent years?

A: I think the most exciting recent development in our field is the growing body of research surrounding concussion biomarkers.  We’re still not quite there but I think that it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be applying new imaging, blood-based, and/or physiological markers of concussion to routine patient care.

Q: How do you balance the demands of work life with personal well-being, and do you have any tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?  

A: I think this is something we’re all still trying to figure out.  For me, recognizing and accepting that there will always be more work to do so not getting sucked into it and allowing myself to step away to make time for other higher priorities like family and exercise is the key.

Q: Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future, both in terms of your career and personal growth?

A: My two biggest aspirations for the future of the Concussion Center are to grow our research portfolio to support a large-scale center grant and to expand our Concussion Learning Health System across Michigan Medicine and eventually to partner sites.

The University of Michigan Concussion Center continues to support Pop-up Safety Town, an initiative led by Dr. Andrew Hashikawa, professor of Emergency Medicine,, who is pioneering a new chapter in injury prevention and helmet safety education by expanding Pop-up Safety Town into Florida and Georgia’s underserved neighborhoods. Leveraging a new partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) CATCH-ON program and the AAA Auto Club Foundation, this initiative can now bring a dynamic, hands-on learning experience to preschool children and families in other states. 

Initially developed at the University of Michigan in 2018, Pop-up Safety Town brings injury prevention education events to Head Start Centers in underserved neighborhoods to teach children and families about helmet safety and other injury prevention topics. The AAP CATCH-ON initiative seeks one program yearly to help expand pediatric “ready-to-go” interventions that can be impactful in other states. With a generous grant from the AAA Auto Club Foundation, allocated evenly between Florida and Georgia, this new collaboration led by Dr. Hashikawa and the team at the U-M Concussion Center will allow the team to provide expert insight to adapt Pop-up Safety Town in these two states. 

“This represents an exceptional chance to broaden the reach of our University of Michigan initiative, states Dr. Hashikawa. We are passionate about instructing pediatricians in other states on how to host Pop-up Safety Town, where we provide vital injury prevention education and free helmets to young children and families. With the support and expertise of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the University of Michigan Concussion Center, and the AAA Auto Club Foundation, we’re excited to extend our impact to preschoolers and elementary students beyond our state lines. Our goal is to instill lasting safety habits in children from an early age and empower families with the knowledge that can prevent injuries before they occur.”

The pilot program for the two new locations is slated to begin in Fall 2024 with events to be held in Spring 2025.

Dr. Steve Broglio, director of the U-M Concussion Center, and Dr. Allyssa Memmini (UMich PhD 2022), assistant professor of athletic training at the University of New Mexico have partnered with the University Health System (UHS) to craft a return to classroom protocol that will be available to all students on campus who have experienced a concussion. The procedure allows students to collaborate with their teachers and gradually rejoin academic activities, aiming to minimize the loss of academic progress and reduce the potential worsening of concussion symptoms.

“While much of the attention to date has been placed on student-athletes, the general student body is also sustaining concussions from daily activities and needs support getting back to the classroom,” said Broglio. “This new policy was based on Allyssa’s dissertation work and is a first-of-its-kind model for concussed college students. We were thrilled.”

Dr. David Millward, athletic medical director, and head team physician with UHS also weighed in on the importance of the protocol. “The partnership between UHS and the U-M Concussion Center has enhanced the concussion care for the students of the University of Michigan,” said Millward. 

“This partnership has made it possible to bring the latest evidence-based, return-to-learn guidelines from research performed by Drs. Memmini and Broglio to the providers at UHS. By incorporating these guidelines into the concussion management performed by UHS providers, U-M students who have suffered a concussion have access to a higher level of care to help facilitate a full recovery and minimize the impact the injury has on their academic performance.”

The landscape of concussion management has evolved significantly in recent years, with groundbreaking research reshaping how we identify, treat, and prevent mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI). Dr. Steven Broglio, director of the U-M Concussion Center and a professor at the U-M School of Kinesiology, sheds light on some of the most critical updates during a recent Q&A session with Michigan News.

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) recently issued a revised statement on the management of sports-related concussions, marking a significant milestone in concussion care since their 2014 position statement. The new statement includes over 25 new and updated recommendations for concussion management.

One notable alteration among many, is the early use of light exercise to help the patient recover. This marks a dramatic shift from prior recommendations where all activity was restricted. The new, science-backed recommendation not only helps the athlete recover, but also accelerates their ability to do so. The authors also emphasized accounting for social and psychological factors, including mental health, in injury risk and management.  

In the video clip below, Dr. Broglio discusses the future of concussion research as it relates to the DEI space and how cultural differences can also play a role in risk and recovery related to concussions.

To watch the full panel discussion hosted by NATA, which includes Dr. Broglio and other experts from across the nation, you can tune in here.

More coverage of this topic can be found through the following sources:

Members of the University of Michigan Concussion Center have taken a major step forward in supporting individuals impacted by traumatic brain injuries (TBI) by securing grant support from the Toyota Motor North America’s Way Forward Fund in collaboration with other institutions across the country. The grant is part of Toyota’s ongoing commitment to improving access to care and resources for children recovering from TBI. 

Organizations selected for the grants this year had to meet key focus areas, including:

  • Improving healthcare access to underserved communities
  • Developing digital platforms to broaden TBI treatment information
  • Creating a nationwide dashboard monitoring standards of care and the impact of pediatric TBI. 

Stemming from a technology prototype developed by the University of Michigan School of Information, the U-M Concussion Center has teamed up with the U-M Injury Prevention Center, National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), REAP®, Center on Brain Injury Research and Training (CBIRT), and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI), to take this project to the next level. Together, we aim to develop an innovative mobile application, the “Concussion Navigator,” to revolutionize concussion management through evidence-based educational resources, an interactive map that will guide patients to healthcare providers, and a symptom-tracking tool enabling users to monitor their concussion symptoms in real-time. The initial prototype focused on providing vital information and streamlining access to concussion care in communities throughout Michigan. Through partnerships with national organizations such as NASHIA, the vision is to distribute the technology from coast to coast. 

“NASHIA is excited to partner with the University of Michigan to ensure that this important tool can scale nationally in a sustainable way,” said Rebeccah Wolfkiel, Executive Director of NASHIA. 

Central to the app’s functionality is an interactive geo-map that differentiates our application from other concussion-care products on the market. It will help users find the concussion specialty clinics accepting the free concussion insurance provided by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) based on the city or zip codes. In collaboration with the Michigan Athletic Trainers’ Society (MATS), the team will continue to expand and refine the clinic list, focusing on available resources in underserved communities across the state. This feature will help to ensure that all high school athletes in Michigan are aware that they have access to necessary concussion care and treatment.

“The Navigator app will put key resources in the hands of those who need it most – particularly those living in the more rural and under-resourced parts of the state,” said Dr. Steve Broglio, Director of the U-M Concussion Center. “We intend to not only provide educational content and resources for recovery, but also help patients, parents, and administrators locate healthcare providers across the state of Michigan.”

Two other U-M units, U-M Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), were among the recipients of this year’s funds. Dr. Alex Rogers, a clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine expressed excitement about the potential impact of their community paramedicine program led by Yale School of Medicine.

“Our concept is to use emergency medical services (EMS) to fill in local health infrastructure,” said Rogers. “There are several EMS groups that already run community paramedic programs, but they’re small, and the concept is still in its infancy.” Rogers goes on to mention that the goal of their funding is to extend the healthcare model into more people’s homes and reach underserved communities more effectively. 

Another University of Michigan team, led by Dr. Alecia Daunter, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Medical Director of Pediatric Inpatient Rehabilitation, aims to create a digital tool, “MiCare Assistant Platform”, that aids caregivers of children with TBI through organized sharing of health information, ultimately improving post-hospital rehab and recovery. 

The projects funded by Toyota’s Way Forward Fund are anticipated to span a minimum of 18 months, with a long-term vision of national expansion. These collaborative projects reflect Toyota’s commitment to driving positive change in healthcare accessibility and treatment standards for patients with traumatic brain injuries.

“It started back in 8th grade when I attended a football camp at Bowie State University where I walked past an athletic training room and noticed someone wrapping an ankle at what seemed like warp speed.” These were the words of a young Darryl Conway as he had just gotten a glimpse into his future. 

Conway Grew up in Beltsville, Maryland just outside of Washington D.C. with his mother and father who were both elementary school teachers. His mother taught first grade through third grade and his father was a physical education teacher and coach – both taught for over 35 years before retiring.

Conway attended the University of Delaware and graduated in 1993 before moving to complete his graduate studies at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY later in 1995. During his time as a student, he had the opportunity to work with the New York Jets for three summers as an athletic training student which eventually led to a full-time position out of college as an assistant athletic trainer.

Following his position with the Jets, he went back and worked for several Division 1 universities, serving in various positions, including Head Athletic Trainer / Director of Sports Medicine at Morgan State University, the University of Northern Iowa, & the University of Central Florida.  Conway ended up at the University of Maryland in 2004 where he spent 9 years as the Assistant Athletic Director- Sports Medicine before ultimately making the move to the University of Michigan. 

Conway has been with U-M for the past eleven years and currently serves as the Executive Senior Associate AD and Chief Health & Welfare Officer. He resides here with his wife, Dr. Sheena Long, DPT, PT, AT, ATC, who is also an athletic trainer and Director of Physical Therapy Clinical Education at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, and his daughter. Conway, also a dog person, shares his home with four rottweilers: Apollo, Titan, Loui, and Chase, all of whom he mentions have gentle and well-behaved personalities and whom he refers to as “his boys”. 

Darryl knew he wanted to be an athletic trainer from a young age and was fueled early on by many different mentors who helped paint the picture of what athletic training was and offered him advice along the way. One notable mentor he shared as having a significant role in his success is Mark Wagner, an athletic trainer and friend of over 35 years. Wagner first hired Conway back in his junior year of high school during a summer camp and they’ve stayed connected ever since. 

He mentioned that having mentors and building relationships along the way is important so that you never stop learning and have others to ask for advice from time to time. He mentioned that some of his favorite memories throughout his career have been building relationships with athletes and helping them get from low points in their careers back up to high-performing and happy with where they are. He places a high value on good communication and notes its importance for athletic trainers as a stand-out trait when it comes to being great at what you do.

“People want to know that you care about them in order for them to trust you to treat them,” said Conway. “There are many great clinicians out there, but not every great clinician is a great communicator.”

More recently, Conway was inducted into the 2024 National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame. An award that has only been given to 411 athletic trainers in the history of the NATA. It’s reserved for those who exemplify the very best in the profession and to recognize the significant accomplishments of athletic trainers who have helped push the profession forward. 

“It’s still kind of surreal that individuals within the profession consider me at that level,” said Conway. “I’m honored and humbled to receive the recognition.”

With March being National Athletic Training Month, this award comes at a time when building awareness for the profession is top-of-mind and so Conway wants people to know why it’s important to have an athletic trainer and how they can help student athletes. He wants parents to know that there are highly trained individuals who are able to take care of their kids when the situation calls for it.

Outside of athletic training and his current career, Conway is a chef in the kitchen and enjoys making dishes such as macaroni and cheese and smoking various types of meat like brisket and pulled pork – making note that he still needs to work on his ribs. When asked if he had other careers in mind at any point, he mentioned that he could’ve seen himself also going to culinary school and being happy with that path.

Beyond a very successful career and a love for the kitchen, Conway wants future students considering the field of athletic training to make sure they try a lot of different things because you can always learn something new. He also encourages students to make it a point to have fun in their career journey as that is a key to success and a happy life.

For eight years, John Ciecko III has been an active member of the Michigan Athletic Trainers’s Society (MATS), an organization dedicated to advancing athletic training knowledge throughout the state. For the past two years, he’s held the position of president and has been working to spread awareness about the importance of having access to an athletic trainer, which includes a goal of one day making sure that every high school in the state of Michigan has access to a dedicated AT in their respective schools.

A Michigan native growing up in the city of Warren, Ciecko completed his undergraduate education at Albion College and then went on to get his first master’s degree at California University of Pennsylvania (known today as Pennsylvania Western University, California). Following graduate school, he got a position with Oakland University where he spent four years as an assistant athletic trainer.

Looking to grow in his career, Ciecko ended up leaving OU and stepped out of Division 1 athletics to make the move into the secondary school setting, securing a position as the head athletic trainer at Bloomfield Hills High School. Over his eleven-year stay at Bloomfield Hills, he managed a student-athlete population of over 1,200 and also managed services for three area middle schools. He loved watching the program at Bloomfield grow and hopes other schools can follow suit if and when resources allow.

Ciecko later went back and got an MBA, focusing on healthcare management, and at the time, got married and also had two kids of his own. He enjoys the work he does but notes the importance of having a healthy work-life balance, something he didn’t learn until much later in his career. 

From Education to Corporate

Today, he works in the corporate world as a musculoskeletal health expert and a health and well-being specialist with Personify Health. Ciecko notes that moving from education into the corporate space is both interesting and fun – “the memes about working in corporate are true, said Ciecko. “You really do hear phrases like ‘Let’s circle back’ or ‘I’ll ping you”. One of the things he enjoys most about working in the corporate space today is that the c-suite managers are more familiar with athletic training and just 15 years ago, that knowledge wasn’t as prevalent in that environment.

Ciecko regularly meets with corporate executives and frontline workers to make sure they’re able to do their jobs successfully and safely by sharing information about various topics including injury prevention. He noted that people today seem to care about the health information he’s providing in the corporate space now that they better understand the impact it has.

“We’re no longer the individuals that put tape on or hand out bandaids, said Ciecko. We are true healthcare providers and professionals”.

Proud moments

When reflecting back on his career, Ciecko stated that one of his most memorable moments was working with a semi-professional soccer team, and over the course of 15 years, they had won 4 national championships. He loved seeing everyone enjoy the feeling of a team experiencing success together.

“The truly memorable moments of my career are when everybody gets involved to achieve a goal and gets to experience that feeling together”, said Ciecko. 

While being technically proficient as an athletic trainer is important, Ciecko also wants people to know that soft skills such as communication and being able to connect with patients and clients are extremely important to be successful in the field. He notes that the difference between good athletic trainers and great ones comes down to being an active listener, being empathetic, and having humility.

Ciecko has worked with several amazing doctors and athletic trainers but has witnessed individuals lacking those soft skills in practice and that can affect patient care. “We deal with some catastrophic injuries and if you can’t be empathic in those times, it’s hard to help a person, said Ciecko. They won’t care that you have a high level of expertise if you can’t connect with them, making it hard to effectively treat”. 

Knowing the importance of these skills, Ciecko has put a lot of time into being an active listener and practicing empathy when working with his athletes and clients. 

Looking ahead

“One of the biggest challenges in athletic training, since I’ve been in the field, is the increased requirement for more education”, said Ciecko. However, he believes that the more extensive training over the years has helped the general public respect the position more as a healthcare professional, while also adding to the toolbox of skills that ATs have access to.

Ciecko made it clear that being an athletic trainer is, at times, a rigorous career, so it’s also important to practice self-care to stay sharp in the field. He maintains his health and well-being by following the quote, “Treat myself like somebody I am responsible for”. He knows that neglecting your own physical and mental health can quickly lead to other struggles and is an advocate for exercise, reading, and the occasional Jiu-Jitsu competition, something he picked up over the past year to stay fit. 

Ciecko mentioned that he had some great guidance over the years as he entered his career field, and pointed to Tim Koberna, head athletic trainer at Hope College, as one of his biggest mentors. Ciecko looked up to Tim early on and appreciated his work ethic for both, his career and family. He valued that Tim was able to give 100% in both places.

“He’s an awesome individual, said Ciecko. He has a lot of humility and is great at being empathic.” 

When asked if he could rewind and change anything about this career path, Ciecko said that he’d still be on the same career path, but he’s noticed that a lot of the younger generation today are more loyal to themselves and he admires that. He mentioned that he probably would’ve made a few different career moves earlier on and would’ve liked to focus a bit more on himself, but was always very loyal to the organizations he worked for. Ultimately, he loves the work that he does though.

“I need a dynamic environment to work in where people are tossing hand grenades at me every minute, said Ciecko. Athletic training is that type of environment.”

National Athletic Training Month

With March in full swing and National Athletic Training Month taking off, Ciecko wants to continue spreading awareness to the public about the extent of educational standards athletic trainers are held to and what it takes to stay licensed so that appreciation for the profession continues to build. 

He also hopes to see more ATs in more schools around the state, mentioning that currently, we’re sitting at about 33% of schools having a full-time AT and about 60% of student-athletes have access to an AT. Ciecko wants to see that number grow. 

He encourages people to get involved in spreading awareness about the importance of athletic training and noted that those interested in taking part can reach out through the MATS website. The U-M Concussion Center also caught up with Ciecko in a recent podcast where he talks more about athletic training and provides some great advice to clinicians on working with patients. That podcast can be found here.

Since 2015, Nichole Shotwell has been at the forefront of advocacy, education, and support for individuals affected by brain injuries in Michigan. With a passion for aiding those with disabilities, her journey to becoming President and CEO of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI) is unique. 

A double graduate from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in general studies and a master’s in social work, Shotwell initially embarked on a path toward a music career, fueled by her talent and early aspirations to become a professional harpist. However, a key moment during her undergraduate studies led her to discover a newfound passion for sociology and psychology, prompting a shift in focus toward a career dedicated to serving others.

Her transition from music to a career path focused on helping others was met with encouragement from her parents, who told her to go after what she wanted. This support, coupled with her experience working at a group home early on, strengthened her commitment to championing the rights and well-being of individuals with disabilities.

At the helm of BIAMI, Shotwell leads initiatives aimed at raising awareness and providing essential support to those affected by brain injuries. Through advocacy efforts, educational programs, and community events, BIAMI continues to make significant strides in advancing its mission. Shotwell emphasizes the importance of dispelling misconceptions surrounding brain injuries, noting that awareness often comes too late for many individuals. 

“Despite notable events like the war in Iraq and organizations like the NFL shedding light on the issue, there remains a lot of work to be done in educating the public about the prevalence and impact of brain injuries”, said Shotwell.

Even amid challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Shotwell and BIAMI remain steadfast in their commitment to serving the community. The introduction of BIAMI Connects, a comprehensive program offering various support and wellness activities, underscores their dedication to accessibility and outreach, especially during times of crisis.

As March marks National Brain Injury Awareness Month, Shotwell encourages participation in the numerous events and initiatives organized by BIAMI and other like-minded organizations. Through collective efforts, she believes progress can be made in fostering greater understanding and support for individuals living with brain injuries.

Despite her demanding role, she remains connected to her passion for music, finding joy in playing the piano, while also helping her husband learn to play. Her journey is a testament to the power of following a passion that can lead to making a meaningful impact. To learn more about Nichole and her journey, readers can tune into the Concussion Headliner’s Podcast where she further discusses her involvement with BIAMI and talks about her path to success.

For those interested in learning more about BIAMI or seeking support for brain injuries, Shotwell invites them to explore the organization’s resources via their website, social media channels, or by reaching out directly.

Meet Doctor James Shih, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology, and a Michigan Concussion Center member. James began his academic journey with a major in psychology, and through his love for sports, particularly volleyball, he found his academic focus in exercise psychology, aligning his academic pursuits with his passion for sports.

Upon coming to the United States from Taipei, Taiwan, James pursued a PhD program centered on exercise and cognitive function. He investigated under which circumstances and for whom exercise may benefit cognitive performance. His research journey includes working with diverse populations such as children with ADHD and older adults with Alzheimer’s. He later began his first postdoctoral experience at UNC, shifting his focus to studying people affected by Parkinson’s disease. Utilizing neuroimaging techniques, he explored the underlying brain mechanisms that link physical activity and cognitive function in individuals with Parkinson’s.

Following his first postdoc, James made the move to Ohio with his wife and shifted his research focus to trauma experiences and PTSD development. This is when he found an exciting opportunity at the University of Michigan Concussion Center. While attending a conference he came in contact with Dr. Eleanna Varangis, assistant professor of Movement Science and Michigan Concussion Center member. They traded X (formerly known as Twitter) handles and that led to James finding the open position. 

Currently, James is engaged in a follow-up study initiated by Dr. James (JT) Eckner, associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Michigan Concussion Center Research associate director, investigating different types of sport participation and their impact on cognitive brain health. 

Acknowledging the influence of his dissertation advisors and postdoc mentors, James expresses gratitude for their invaluable guidance in shaping his academic and career paths. He also emphasizes the significant strides made in big data, recognizing its role in advancing research in recent years.

Balancing academics and personal life, James emphasizes the importance of downtime. Although he no longer plays volleyball, he has embraced pickleball as his new favorite pastime. His future plans include continued publication, securing grants, and mastering his pickleball skills. Since joining the University of Michigan in October 2023, he has appreciated the supportive and vibrant community, expressing eagerness to explore more of Ann Arbor and build new connections on campus.