University of Calgary

University researchers lead international report on concussions in sports

UToday HomeMarch 12, 2013

By Don McSwiney

Kinesiology professor Winne Meeuwisse focuses his research on sport injury prevention and concussions. He co-authored an international report on the treatment of concussions. Kinesiology professor Winne Meeuwisse focuses his research on sport injury prevention and concussions. He co-authored an international report on the treatment of concussions.A leading sports medicine researcher from the University of Calgary is the co-author of a just-published international report that offers a consensus view among scientists and doctors about the treatment of concussion.

The report, reflecting the views of the majority of the world’s leading sport concussion researchers, was co-published simultaneously in the April 2013 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine and a number of other leading biomedical journals.

The consensus statement was co-authored by Kinesiology researcher and leader of the University of Calgary Brain Injury Initiative, Dr. Winne Meeuwisse, who is also part of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and University of Calgary Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre.

“Concussion is one of the most complex injuries to diagnose and treat, and our understanding of concussion is constantly evolving,” explains Meeuwisse. “This document attempts to give health-care professionals a concise guide to what we believe will provide the best patient outcomes.”

Fellow Kinesiology researchers Dr. Kathryn Schneider and Dr. Brian Benson were also members of the 30-member panel of global concussion experts who examined the research surrounding a number of concussion-related issues. The report covers topics such as whether helmets and other sports equipment are preventing concussions, why some people respond better to rehabilitation than others, and when an athlete should be allowed to return to play after suffering a concussion.

The panel also provided updated diagnosis and evaluation tools, including a new “Sport Concussion Assessment Tool”, 3rd Edition (SCAT3), along with a children’s version for ages 5-12, and a “Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool” for parents and coaches.

The document details how players should be evaluated on the sidelines, and emphasizes that no player should be allowed to return to play if a concussion is suspected.

The authors of the consensus document also considered the latest research on helmets and mouth guards, saying that while mouth guards and helmets may protect the athlete from trauma injuries (fractured skull, dental injury, etc.), “there is no good clinical evidence that currently available protective equipment will prevent concussion.”

Instead, the group suggested that rule changes aimed at preventing concussion in sport would be a better strategy. Interestingly, the group noted that better protective gear often leads to the adoption of more dangerous playing techniques, which they point out “can result in a paradoxical increase in injury rates.”

Physiotherapist Kathryn Schneider is one of the 30 experts who examined the global research surrounding concussion-related issues. Physiotherapist Kathryn Schneider is one of the 30 experts who examined the global research surrounding concussion-related issues. Brian Benson is a sports medicine physician in the Faculty of Kinesiology.Brian Benson is a sports medicine physician in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

 

 

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