Research and Clinical Trials

Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine staff conducts numerous studies in physical and psychological issues affecting recreational, amateur and professional athletes. Some current areas of research interest include:

  • Clinical, functional and biomechanical screening of high school, collegiate, and Olympic and professional-level athletes
  • Identification of athletes at high risk of primary and secondary anterior cruciate ligament injury
  • Neuromuscular intervention targeted to mechanisms of anterior cruciate ligament load in female athletes
  • Prevention of secondary anterior cruciate ligament injuries
  • Neural mechanisms of anterior cruciate ligament injury and rehabilitation
  • Protective effect of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in preventing symptomatic arthritis and symptomatic meniscal tears
  • Modeling anterior cruciate ligament injuries in cadaveric specimens
  • Shear wave electrography of muscular and ligamentous structures in cadaveric specimens
  • Lower extremity proprioception
  • Objective concussion diagnosis and quantification of severity
  • Utilizing subsymptom threshold exercise training to return concussed athletes to pre-head-trauma status
  • Cervical spine strengthening for concussion injury prevention
  • Hockey injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation
  • Interpreting oblique impact data from an accelerometer-instrumented ice hockey helmet

Clinical Trials

The Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine team is currently conducting this clinical trial:

  • Objective Concussion Diagnosis and Quantification of Severity: A Process Essential to the Brain Health of Hockey Players and to the "Ice to Axon" Research, Year 2

In this study, principal investigators Aynsley M. Smith, Ph.D., R.N. and Michael J. Stewart, M.D. is focusing on why an objective diagnosis (based on blood biomarkers, quantified EEG and the King-Devick test) is a more accurate predictor of concussion compared with a subjective diagnosis that can be exaggerated or denied. The subjective diagnosis is used extensively in most centers or in situations where players are being assessed for concussion.