News And Notes

NATA Funds IOM Concussion Study

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DALLAS -- The National Athletic Trainers' Association and the NATA Research & Education Foundation announced Dec. 10 their participation and partial funding of the Consensus Study of Sports-related Concussions in Youth, which is being conducted by the Institute of Medicine.

The 15-member IOM Committee on Sports-Related Concussion in Youth was recently formed to study concussions in youth, from elementary school through young adulthood, including military personnel and their dependents. The final statement is expected to be issued in Dec. 2013.

"There has been continued public awareness, media attention and medical research dedicated to head-related injuries and the acute and chronic effects from concussion," said NATA Foundation President Mark Hoffman, PhD, ATC. "NATA and the NATA Foundation are honored to be a part of this esteemed team of experts through our $50,000 sponsorship and our submission of names of secondary school colleagues and researchers who will serve as resources to the working group."

The NATA Foundation is the only non-governmental sponsor of the consensus study, according to a release.

"I am delighted to be a part of such a distinguished panel of colleagues committed to sport-related concussion," said Tracey Covassin, PhD, ATC, associate professor at Michigan State University, who will serve on the committee. "It has long been an area of my primary research and I am confident that our collective findings will provide timely and critical information to better prevent, manage and treat this health condition."

The committee will review current literature on concussions, their causes and the relationship of hits to the head during sport, effectiveness of protective devices and equipment, screening and diagnosis, prevention, management and treatment. Specific topics of interest include:

  • The short and longer-term 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 changes that can occur as a result of head injuries.
  • Physical and biological triggers and threshold for injury.
  • Hospital and non-hospital diagnostic tools.
  • Biomechanics of head injury and the effects of selected helmet designs.
  • The work of public health agencies, professional sports associations and state legislatures to promote awareness of the risks and consequences of concussive injury, return to play decisions and the increased use of neurological tests for diagnostic purposes.
The committee is comprised of members who have expertise in basic neuroscience; clinical expertise with head trauma in pediatric populations; neuropathology; sports medicine; cognitive and education psychology; bioengineering; youth sport organizational background; active duty military training or statistics analysis and evaluation. It will meet four times during the course of the study. Two public workshops will be held in conjunction with two of the meetings for information-gathering purposes. The committee's draft report will undergo peer review before the formal consensus statement is produced.

Dates and agendas for future open sessions of the committee will be posted at www.iom.edu/Activities/Children/YouthSportsConcussions.aspx.

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