A long-term study of concussion and other head injuries in athletes will be conducted by the National Sport Concussion Outcomes Study Consortium, a new group that includes University of Michigan professors of neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and kinesiology. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is providing a $400,000 grant to begin to fund the longitudinal study.
The researchers will evaluate more than 1000 male and female college athletes who compete in 11 sports at 3 schools. They plan to track the athletes throughout their lifetimes to monitor the long-term effects of head injuries, similar to efforts made in the Framingham Heart Study. The group is seeking funding to expand the effort and begin enrolling athletes as early as high school and then monitor them through college and even into professional careers.
The researchers described a tremendous need for data on both the short- and long-term health consequences of concussions to improve understanding of the risk to brain health for those who participate in sports. In the first phase, they will study athletes in contact sports in men's football, soccer, basketball, ice hockey, and lacrosse and in women's water polo, soccer, basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse. Non-contact sport participants will be recruited from track and field and swimming and diving teams. The NCAA is seeking to foster innovative research among its member universities to increase knowledge about the short- and long-term neurological consequences of sports participation.
For more information and free online courses about recognizing and responding to concussions, visit the University of Michigan Health System Web site at http://www.michiganneurosport.com.