Joseph C. Maroon, MD

Clinical Professor of Neurological Surgery, Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


Joseph C. Maroon, MD, is a board-certified clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience. His clinical and research interests have been in the areas of the development of minimally invasive surgical procedures to the brain and spine, the prevention and treatment of traumatic injuries to the central nervous system, innovative approaches to pituitary and other brain tumors and more recently complimentary approaches to inflammatory diseases associated with aging.

Working with neuropsychologist, Mark Lovell, PhD, he co-developed ImPACT© (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). This is the first computerized system to determine concussion severity and the timing for return to contact sports. It is now the standard of care for concussion management in the National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, NASCAR and is used in over 12,000 colleges and high schools in the United States.

For over 20 years he has served as the neurosurgical consultant to professional and college athletes in football, baseball, golf, hockey and soccer and was team neurosurgeon to the Pittsburgh Steelers for over 40 years. He has been honored by the neurosurgical societies of Japan, Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Brazil, Lebanon and China for his neurosurgical contributions, and was honored by his peers when he was elected president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the largest society of neurosurgeons in North America.

Other outside activities include a former member of the board of directors and chairman of the scientific and technology committee of Mylan Laboratories, the largest generic drug manufacturer in the world; former chairman of the scientific advisory board to General Nutrition Corporation (GNC); and, chairman of the medical and scientific advisory board to Stemedica. He also serves on the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and, in 2008, he became medical director of the World Wrestling Entertainment Corporation (WWE). Also in 2008, he was named senior vice president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

Honored as one of America’s best neurosurgeons for 12 consecutive years he has written over 290 papers, 40 book chapters and five books. His most recent book, published in February of 2017 and re-released in December of 2018, is entitled Square One: A Simple Guide to a Balanced Life that takes a look at the importance of understanding where you are in life and the need to keep all elements of your life in proper “balance.” He has also authored Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory, published in 2006, and The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for Longer and Healthier Life, published in 2008.

In his early years, his athletic abilities earned him a football scholarship to the University of Indiana in Bloomington where he was selected as Scholastic All-American in football.

Despite his busy professional schedule, Dr. Maroon remains an avid athlete and has competed in over 78 triathlon events. These include eight Ironman distant triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 run) in Hawaii (1993, 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2013), Canada (1995), New Zealand (1997) and Europe (2000). He placed sixth in the Senior U.S. Olympics Triathlon in 2005.

In 1999, he—along with Joe Montana and Kareem Abdul Jabaar—was inducted into the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame for his athletic accomplishments and contributions to sports medicine. On May 2, 2009, he was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, and on March 14, 2010, he was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in Chicago.

In June of 2017, Dr. Maroon was selected as Man of the Year by the Saints and Sinners Club of America, and in September of 2018, he was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation.

As medical director of the Live Free African Freedom Tour, on February 26, 2014, Dr. Maroon and his daughter, Isabella—along with a group of amputees—climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, the highest free standing mountain in the world. In May of 2015, Dr. Maroon completed The Crucible Extreme Hike, a 3-day, 70-mile hike in the Laurel Mountains of Pennsylvania to raise awareness for wounded veterans.

In February of 2020, Dr. Maroon was named recipient of the UPMC Clinician of Courage Award. To further honor Dr. Maroon, upon presenting the award, UPMC announced that the award would be renamed the Joseph Maroon Clinician of Courage Award for future award winners.

Dr. Maroon’s publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine’s publication database.

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