NY Giants' Steve Tisch Reveals His $10M Plan to Further Concussion Research

THR Concussion Docs - H 2014
Smallz & Raskind

THR Concussion Docs - H 2014

In THR's Top Doctors Issue, the NFL team's owner, who is supporting UCLA's BrainSPORT Program, and Dr. Christopher Giza explain the plan to help young athletes

This story first appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

As co-owner of the New York Giants, Steve Tisch is attuned to the dangers surrounding concussions in the NFL. But the Oscar-winning producer also cares deeply about the risks facing young athletes, which is why in May he pledged $10 million to UCLA's BrainSPORT Program for concussion research, with a focus on the millions of youth who play sports. "If coaches get state-of-the-art information about how to recognize a head injury and how to treat it, it's very comforting as a parent," says Tisch, 65, whose daughter Holden, 14, sustained a concussion last year playing lacrosse.

Dr. Christopher Giza, the program's director, notes that the young brain continuously is evolving. "If it gets damaged and is not allowed to recover, that development is going to go off the tracks," he says. "The goal is to figure out the differences between concussion in kids and adults and then develop individualized treatment plans for the young athletes." With Tisch's gift, which Giza calls "transformative," BrainSPORT will baseline test athletes from middle school to college and create diagnostic tools precisely calibrated for age and gender. Dr. Neil Martin, UCLA's chair of neurosurgery, adds that the program will finally locate definitive answers to long-asked questions: " 'How many concussions are too many? How long do you have to wait before you can return to competition? Is there a long-term risk that might threaten brain function?' We're going to accumulate knowledge so that we can manage the game to be as safe as possible."

By addressing these issues early, Tisch believes pro football's future will benefit as well. "Our players start when they're 8, 12 years old," says Tisch, whose donation is the most an individual ever has given for the study of concussions. "Hopefully my gift to UCLA will inspire other NFL owners to do something similar. This is good for everybody."

More From THR's Top Doctors Issue:

Hollywood's Top Doctors Revealed: Exclusive Survey

See The Doctors With Their Famous Patients

Hollywood's Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s "Entitled" Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic

Hollywood's Biggest Anti-Vaccine Proponents

How to Live Forever: The (Mad?) Science Hollywood Is Using to "Cure" Death

'I'm Going to Live Forever': Hollywood Elders' Best Quotes About Aging

Is Working in Hollywood Bad for Your Health?

L.A.'s Emergency Rooms, Rated

Meet the Real-Life McDreamy: The Doctor Behind 'Grey's Anatomy'

4 NYC-Based Physicians Loved by L.A.

Meet Morgan Freeman's Sikh

Chris Albrecht Recounts His Daughter's Harrowing Car Accident

Voice Doctor Who Treats KISS' Paul Stanley Shares His Advice to Rock-Star Clients