Javier Cardenas, MD

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Javier Cárdenas, MD

Javier Cárdenas, MD
Medical Director, Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center

Dr. Javier Cárdenas at Barrow Neurological Institute is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the diagnosis and treatment of concussion and other forms of brain injury. A neurologist, Dr. Cárdenas created the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, the nation’s most comprehensive concussion prevention, treatment, and education program.

Dr. Cárdenas is the only Arizona neurologist on the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, where he advises the NFL on best practices for concussion prevention and management. Dr. Cárdenas is on the sidelines of every Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State University home football game to consult with players who may have a sustained a concussion. In addition, Dr. Cárdenas was instrumental in helping to create a new helmet protocol for the AIA which has since been adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations. The rule states that every football player must return to the sidelines when their helmet comes off to have it inspected during the next play. The protocol has drastically decreased the number of helmets that have come off during the season.

Dr. Cárdenas created Barrow Brainbook, the nation’s first mandated concussion education and test for student athletes. Under this program, Arizona became the first state to mandate that all male and female student athletes undergo concussion education and pass a formal test before play.


Education and Training

  • Residency: Barrow Neurological Institute, Department of Pediatric Neurology, 2009
  • Residency: St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Children’s Health Center, Phoenix, Arizona, 2006
  • MD: University of Arizona College of Medicine, 2004
  • BA: Arizona State University, Special Education, Magna Cum Laude, 1999


Professional Memberships and Appointments

  • American Academy of Neurology
  • Child Neurology Society
  • Arizona Neurological Society
  • Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, National Football League
  • Arizona State Governor’s Advisory Council on Spinal and Head Injuries


Honors and Awards

  • Phoenix Business Journal, Most Admired Leaders Award, 2014
  • Arizona State University Young Alumni Award, 2014
  • Arizona Public Health Association Health Education Award, 2012
  • Housestaff Servant Leadership Award, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, 2009
  • Arizona Neurological Society Award for Outstanding Poster Presentation, 2007
  • M. Caroline Duncan Award, The Southern Pediatric Neurology Society 32nd Annual Meeting, 2007
  • The Walt Vikram Troester Memorial Scholarship, for Exemplary Compassion in the Care of Neonates, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, 2006
  • Outstanding Resident Teacher of the Year, The Children’s Health Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, 2006
  • Pediatric Intern of the Year, The Children’s Health Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, 2005
  • Exemplary Student Researcher, Translational Genomics Research Institute, 2003
  • College of Education Dean’s List, Arizona State University, 1996-1999
  • City of Tempe Kid Zone: Kid Zone Site of the Month, October, 1998
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s List, University of Arizona, 1994-1996


Selected Publications

  1. Cardenas JF, Rho JM, Kirton A. Pediatric stroke. Childs Nerv Syst. Sep 2011;27(9):1375-1390.

  2. Ng YT, Hastriter EV, Cardenas JF, Khoury EM, Chapman KE. Intravenous levetiracetam in children with seizures: a prospective safety study. J Child Neurol. May 2010;25(5):551-555.

  3. Cardenas JF, Chapman K. Sydenham's chorea as a presentation of Moyamoya disease. Semin Pediatr Neurol. Mar 2010;17(1):30-34.

  4. Cardenas JF, Amato RS. Compound heterozygous polymerase gamma gene mutation in a patient with Alpers disease. Semin Pediatr Neurol. Mar 2010;17(1):62-64.

  5. Chapman K, Cardenas JF. Hemimegalencephaly in a patient with a neurocutaneous syndrome. Semin Pediatr Neurol. Dec 2008;15(4):190-193.


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Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 406-3000