More than half of concussions in North America are among youth, the most at-risk group for brain injury from sports.
To tackle this issue, researchers at the University of British Columbia Vancouver are seeking participants to take part in the SHRed Concussions study (Surveillance in High School to Reduce Concussions and Consequences of Concussions in Canadian Youth), funded by the National Football League.
Drs. Shelina Babul and Ian Pike, the study’s lead investigators from UBC Vancouver, explain how this new study will ensure that youth get back to sports without long-term complications.
Why do we need to be concerned about concussion in youth sport?
When it comes to concussion, children and youth have longer recovery times than adults. Youth face heightened risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) through sport—yet we have limited understanding of the risk factors for concussion, concussion diagnosis, and how the developing brain recovers from this injury. In BC, from 2012-2017, children aged 0 to 14 years-of-age had the highest rate of emergency department visits for concussion, followed by individuals 15 to 24 years.
What are you hoping to learn through the SHRed Concussions study, and why is it important?
Our goal is to improve concussion care for children and youth. Our current understanding of sport-related concussion comes largely from adult studies and anecdotal evidence. Among youth, we are less able to predict the recovery path and have little understanding about long-term effects. We need better information on youth concussion and better tools to guide clinical decision-making and inform management and treatment.
What are the benefits to my child if they participate in SHRed?
If any participant sustains a concussion over the duration of the study, they will have access to accelerated concussion care by being immediately scheduled to see a sports concussion specialist. Research shows that recognizing and treating symptoms as soon as possible will change the management and treatment of concussions in children and youth. It will also allow for a faster and safer return to school and sport.
Who is eligible to participate?
We are working with high school, club, and community teams in the following sports: basketball, football, ice hockey, ringette, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, volleyball, cheerleading, alpine skiing, sledge hockey, or wrestling teams in British Columbia. The target group is male and female athletes 13-17 years old.
What does participation in the study entail?
If an individual or team chooses to participate, they will be invited for a telephone screening interview followed by a baseline assessment where various physical measures and online questionnaires will be completed. The researchers will follow all public health measures and ensure strict hygiene and sanitation protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Helping youth ‘shred’ the burden of concussion: BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (March 17, 2022)
BC team recruiting young athletes for study on youth concussions: Global News BC (March 17, 2022)
Examining the effects of sport-related concussions in BC teens: CityNews BC (March 17, 2022)