Research study using MRI to detect brain changes in MMA fighters

October 03, 2012

Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Dr. Colby Shirk and Dr. Kent Harkey of the Department of Emergency Medicine are researching whether new types of MRI can detect physical changes in the brain in mixed martial arts fighters. Harkey will use the non-invasive MRI in fighters who have experienced a knockout or concussion to see if physical changes can be seen, and if these changes disappear when symptoms do. Mixed martial arts fighters, and their training partners, may be eligible to participate in this study.

Volunteers need to live within 25 miles of Hershey and be willing to abstain from further head trauma in training after the knockout or concussion and until a final MRI is conducted for the study.

Volunteers in the study will complete neuropsychological testing and an MRI at study start and again after a knockout or concussion, have weekly neuropsychological testing until symptoms clear and then a final MRI.

For more information, call Christopher Fetrow at 717-425-0988.

For a listing of clinical research trials seeking volunteers, visit or

This research study, IRB 40260, has been approved by the Institutional Review Board, under federal regulations at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 03, 2012