AUSTIN (KXAN) — How does a concussion impact our brains?

The University of Texas Southwestern Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute’s College Level Aging Athlete Study or CLEAATS is hoping to gather more information to understand.

The study was designed to advance medical science’s understanding of how participation in collegiate sports and resulting sports-related concussions may impact brain wellness in later life.

CLEAATS will study both people in contact and non-contact sports and will track a broader, more diverse pool of former athletes than any previous research effort.

Jeremy Smith played football at Austin High School and then went on to play at the University of Houston. He says during his time in pads he never really thought about concussions, but there were times when he felt like something was off.

“Sometimes after hits you kinda blank out,” said Smith. “Next thing I know, I was on the ground.”

Dr. Cullum says concussion research has ramped up in recent years.

“Back in the day, and that was not all that long ago, we didn’t know nearly as much about concussions as we do now,” said Cullum.

Cullum says the study will take a look at hundreds of former athletes, both men and women.

“We are going to be looking at different athletes, different sports, and importantly we are going to be looking at males and females because not nearly enough is known about female concussions,” said Cullum.

They are seeking to recruit 500 individuals, 250 men and 250 women, over the age of 50, who played an NCAA or NAIA sport for at least one season in college to participate in the study.

“It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of this study for generations of young athletes and the contributions its findings will make to the body of knowledge critical to understanding later-life outcomes of athletic participation for men and women alike,” said Dr. Margot Putukian, advisor to the principal investigators.

The Darrell K Royal Research Fund today announced it has provided a $500,000 grant and multi-year commitment to the launch of the study.