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Sports can be made safer through innovative science, the University of North Carolina’s Kevin Guskiewicz said at a campus lecture before Saturday’s home football game.

“Innovative science can be a game changer,” said Guskiewicz, a leading expert on sport-related concussions. Guskiewicz is a Kenan Distinguished Professor, co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science.

Guskiewicz’s talk, “Get Inside the Helmet: Understanding Football Head Injury Protection,” was part of Carolina’s Game Day Lecture Series that started this year. More than 50 people attended Saturday’s lecture held at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.

“Concussions are like snowflakes. There are no two alike,” Guskiewicz said. That makes concussions very challenging to identify and treat, he said. He said making sports safer requires identifying predispositions to sport injuries, modifying athletes’ behavior and pushing forward with innovative science.

Guskiewicz and his team have studied Carolina athletes over the last two decades to better understand the biomechanics of the injury and have developed and validated assessment tools to remove the guesswork from concussion management.

Guskiewicz is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

He helped write concussion guidelines that are now recommended by the NCAA, the NFL, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Published October 18, 2014.