There’s a strong correlation between Dr. Nyaz Didehbani’s
work at UT Southwestern as a neuropsychologist and her lifetime love of sports.
In middle school, she began to excel at sports, which gave
her a sense of belonging and confidence.
Nowadays, Dr. Didehbani still
leads a very active lifestyle and spends much of her free time on the sidelines
as a proud “soccer uber mom,” cheering on her kids, ages 10 and 6.
But when it comes to the issue of concussions and sports,
she is square in the middle of the action, working with former and current NFL
players, NHL players, young athletes, and military veterans to research
traumatic brain injuries as Co-Director of UT Southwestern’s Neurorehabilitation
Beginning Dec. 3, Dr. Didehbani will bring expert
concussion care to patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Frisco, caring
for the community she has called home for 20 years.
a bit about your background and your journey to UT Southwestern.
is from Iran and I’m a proud first-generation Texan, born in Grand Prairie and
raised in The Colony. My parents came to the States during the Iranian
revolution in 1978 and attended school at the University of North Texas.
my undergrad degree from Baylor and obtained my doctorate from UNT in
behavioral medicine. Then came a one-year internship at Wayne State Medical
Center in Michigan before returning for a postdoctoral fellowship in
neuropsychology at UT Dallas. I joined UT Southwestern four years ago as an
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry.”
What effect has team sports had on
your life and career?
“As a kid, I was a bit on the chubby side, until middle
school where I become very involved in sports, playing basketball, volleyball,
running track, and soccer. I loved the teamwork, the competition, and
the drive to win, which are all important life lessons. Sports definitely gave
me confidence, and belonging to a team was a positive experience. Now
as a clinician and researcher, one of my strengths is that I work well with
everyone and connect with people.”
long have you lived in Frisco?
moved to Frisco when I was an undergrad, so I’ve been there for about 20 years.
Now, I’m very happily living in Frisco with my husband (a biomedical engineer who
did his graduate studies at UT Southwestern) and kids, who love their schools.”
your overall approach to the problem of concussions and football?
has always been a big part of Texas culture, so all of the recent publicity
surrounding concussions and football-related head injuries has hit with a bit
more force here than perhaps in other places. My stance on concussions is that
any type of head injury has to be addressed, assessed, and managed as soon as
possible. I firmly believe that one important approach to this whole issue is
to incorporate lifestyle medicine into the diagnosis. In other words, it is
important to treat the whole person, taking into account how their overall
environment can affect their type of injury and recovery.”