The largest-ever study on concussion and sports has added nine universities to the project, expanding the study to 30 schools and hospitals. The $30 million research project will track about 25,000 student athletes in every sport. Researchers aim to better understand concussions and traumatic brain injuries in sports, help improve concussion recovery, and protect players from harm. The NCAA and Department of Defense are funding the study as part of the Concussion Assessment, Research and Education (CARE) Consortium.
All participating athletes undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation before the sports season begins. Those who sustain concussions are tracked through the entire recovery process and after they return to play. The study is entering its second phase, which will investigate why some players endure lasting problems from concussions while others do not.
The project, which began in 2014, has already collected more than 25 million data points from 16,000 student athletes. With the addition of nine more testing sites, more than 25,000 student-athletes are expected to participate in the three-year study. A diverse cross-section of Division I, Division II, and Division III schools is represented in the study's participating institutions. Researchers were seeking a broad range of both geographic and racial diversity in the schools and athletes chosen.
As awareness of the risk of traumatic brain injuries in sports has increased, so have measures to prevent concussions. However, much research remains to be done on how to best prevent and recover from concussions. In the years since the NFL first acknowledged a link between concussions and lasting medical problems in 2009, 27,000 fewer high school students are playing football. "I think there's a fear now of playing sports like football, soccer, and rugby. This study is a good start at trying to address some questions that may allay some fears," said kinesiology professor Ryan Tierney. Dr. Tierney teaches at Temple University, one of the schools just added to the CARE study. Through this large-scale study, the CARE Consortium is poised to further understanding and reduce fears about concussions in student athletes.
Burnsed, B. (2016, March 3). 9 Schools Added to NCAA-DOD Concussion Study. NCAA [press release]. Retrieved from http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/9-schools-added-ncaa-dod-concussion-study.
Wood, S. (2016, March). Temple, Penn to Join $30M Concussion Study. Athletic Business. Retrieved from http://www.athleticbusiness.com/college/temple-penn-to-join-30m-concussion-study.html.
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