Sports Medicine Research

Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine

The Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine is dedicated to treating and learning about injuries and conditions affecting young and growing athletes. In some cases, these injuries are acute, but other conditions may occur from repetitive motions over time. Common conditions we treat are osteochondritis dissecans of the knee, elbow injuries in throwing athletes, shoulder instability and dislocations and sports concussions. Many of our patients are still growing and this must be considered when treating young, active athletes.
Our research ranges from preventing sports-related injuries and conditions to identifying how to return an athlete back to sports safely after an injury or surgery. Our team of pediatric sports medicine specialists is focused on helping and encouraging children to be active well into adulthood. In addition to our local projects, we lead and work on projects with other pediatric sports medicine practitioners across the country. This allows us to study larger populations and collaborate to establish the best practices. Much of this work is done in partnership with peers in the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine society.


Physician Members of the Sports Medicine Center

Jane S. Chung, M.D.
Henry B. Ellis, M.D.
Shane M. Miller, M.D.
Philip L. Wilson, M.D.

Research Staff Members of the Sports Medicine Center

Amanda Fletcher, R.N., C.P.N.P., R.N.F.A
Erica Force, Ph.D., C.C.-A.A.S.P.
Meagan Sabatino, B.A., C.C.R.P.
Chuck Wyatt, R.N., C.P.N.P., R.N.F.A.
Aaron Zynda, B.S.


Current Studies 

Sports Concussions - Patient Record Review 

This retrospective study was designed to look at trends in removal from play, symptoms reported and time to recovery after a sports-related concussion. In the first phase, records for all patients seen by Shane M. Miller, M.D. for a sports-related concussion over a 10-month period were reviewed. The results from this phase indicate that 38% of the 185 young athletes (ages 7-18) reviewed had returned to play or continued to play on the same day they sustained a concussion. These athletes were more likely to report symptoms and that those symptoms were more severe when they arrived to the clinic for evaluation. Except for playing after sustaining an injury, there were no differences in these athletes with regards to age, gender, or sport they played.

Our team has since identified additional questions we hope to answer in the next phase of the project. We will include a larger group of athletes and review additional data points with the purpose of understanding why some athletes return to play on the same day and others do not. We aim to use this information to educate the community, change behaviors and transform the culture of concussions in youth sports.

In the news: This study has been featured in several news publications, read more here:

HealthyChildren.org // Study Shows Same-Day Return to Play After Concussion Still Common Among Young Athletes

Boston Globe // Almost 4 in 10 Concussed Student Athletes Stay on the Field, Study Finds

Sports Concussions - Registry 

The purpose of this study is to capture comprehensive, long-term data on patients with concussion and traumatic brain injury in collaboration with our local partners. Information gathered will include information prior to injury after the injury, and throughout recovery, and beyond. By collecting information on how injuries occur, type of sport played, management strategies during recovery, and treatments and outcomes, this comprehensive database will help to determine which tests, treatments, and services are most effective and result in the best outcomes. This evidence will be available to guide care for future patients after a concussion. 

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patient 5 years old or older
  • Clinical diagnosis of concussion from any cause

Sports Conussions - Treatment - Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in both fish oils and algae. It has been shown to improve development of the eyes and brain in young children. The purpose of this study is to trial the use of DHA for the treatment of sports concussions in the pediatric population. The hypothesis is that the patients in this study who take a specific dose of DHA will recover faster than the patients taking a placebo pill without DHA.
Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients between 14 and18 years of age old 
  • Diagnosed with concussion from a sports-related injury
  • Concussion within 4 days prior to starting the study

Clavicle Fractures - Registry 

The purpose of the Factors Associated with Clavicle Treatment Study (FACTS) is to develop a better understanding of the healing, costs, and the best treatment options for patients with clavicle shaft fractures.
Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patient between 10 and 18 years old
  • Diagnosis of a mid-shaft clavicle fracture
  • Enrolled within 90 days of injury or surgery
  • Baseline X-rays available

Knee Conditions - Registry 

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is a common injury in young athletes. The time to recover from surgical reconstruction of the ligament is long and the rehabilitation is intense. This study has been designed to study the characteristics for patients who do and do not return to their previous level of sport competition 12 months after their ACL reconstruction. This information will help surgeons better counsel athletes based on pre-surgical physical and psychological characteristics. 

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patient between 12 and 18 years old 
  • Recommended for ACL reconstruction with or without other procedures in the knee at the same time
  • Participated in team sports prior to surgery

Knee Conditions - Treatment 

This study looks at patients with a condition of the cartilage and bone on the weight-bearing surface of the thighbone in the knee. This condition is called osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). A standard non-operative treatment consists of wearing a hinged-knee brace while non-weight bearing and then progressing to weight-bearing with activity restrictions.
The purpose of this study is to examine the patient satisfaction and compliance of a different brace frequently used in this population, the valgus unloader brace. Comparing this common brace to the standard treatment will help determine if the treatment options are equivalent and patient satisfaction and compliance can guide treatment recommendations. 

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients between 7 and 18 years old
  • Patients that are still growing, this is called skeletally immature
  • Diagnosis of a stable OCD lesion the medial femoral condyle of the knee
  • MRI to confirm lesion stability
  • Patient must be able to walk

Knee Conditions - Registry
Research OsteoChondritis of the Knee (ROCK) Prospective Registry

The Research OsteoChondritis of the Knee (ROCK) study group is comprised of more than 30 surgeons at more than 20 national and international major medical centers. The purpose of this study is to develop a registry of all patients seen at these participating institutions with a diagnosis of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the knee. Data will be recorded throughout the care stages from diagnosis through long-term follow-up.
Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of OCD of the knee

Learn more about injuries and conditions affecting young athletes on our Sports Medicine page.