Posted on January 11, 2013 · Posted in Brain Injury

The Institute of Medicine, a research group supported by federal funding, has just kicked off a 15-month probe of concussions and youth athletes.

The Institute’s website announced that a new ad hoc committee “will conduct a study and prepare a report on sports-related concussions in youth, from elementary school through young adulthood, including military personnel and their dependents.”

As part of its mission the committee “will review the available literature on concussions, in the context of developmental neurobiology, in terms of their causes, relationships to hits to the head or body during sports, effectiveness of protective devices and equipment, screening and diagnosis, treatment and management, and long-term consequences,” said the Institute, which is part of the National Academies of Science.

The committee will hone in on several topics,  including:

— The acute, subacute, and chronic effects of single and repetitive concussive and non-concussive head impacts on the brain;

— Risk factors for sports concussion, post-concussive syndrome, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy;

— The spectrum of cognitive, affective, and behavioral alterations that can occur during acute, subacute, and chronic post-traumatic phases

— Physical and biological triggers and thresholds for injury;

— The effectiveness of equipment and sports regulations for prevention of injury;

— Hospital and non-hospital based diagnostic tools

— Treatments for sports concussion

Based on currently available evidence, the report will include findings on those issues and make recommendations to specific agencies and organizations (governmental and non-governmental) on factors to consider when determining the concussive status of a player.

The report will include a section focused on youth sport concussion in military dependents as well as concussion resulting from sports and physical training at Service academies and recruit training for military personnel between the ages of 18 to 21.

The recommendations will be geared toward research funding agencies (such as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Diseased Control), legislatures (Congress, state legislatures), state and school superintendents and athletic directors, athletic personnel (athletic directors, coaches, athletic trainers), military personnel (sports medicine providers, athletic trainers, service academy trainers and directors), parents, and equipment manufacturers.

The report will also identify the need for further research to answer questions raised during the study process.

The project is sponsored by the CDC, the Department of Defense, Department of Education, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Foundation). Funding for the study was provided to the CDC Foundation by the National Football League.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447