A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a bump or a jolt to the head or body—such as a fall, a car accident or a sports injury—that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. Repeated concussions can lead to a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which causes progressive damage to brain tissue and often debilitating, life-changing symptoms.
The more we know about concussions and how to prevent and treat them, the better we’re able to protect children and adolescents from long-term damage and conditions such as CTE.
ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the most widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. The data include information on more than 10,000 visits of high school athletes, in three separate studies administered by multiple investigators across a multidisciplinary team at Children’s. Researchers are analyzing the data to examine the effects of concussion on girls and boys, symptoms that affect recovery and return-to-play decisions.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) uses MRI technology to measure brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. Researchers are using fMRI, along with morphometry (imaging technique that detect differences in brain anatomy) and cardiovascular techniques to assess high school football players’ frontal lobe function. Their research includes neuropsychological testing (tasks to measure psychological function) and ImPACT to monitor recovery of function and symptoms affecting our community’s athletes. This grant-funded initiative is open through the current football season.
Researchers are conducting additional studies to:
- Compare athletes with concussions with normal controls to assess advanced neuroimaging techniques in return-to-play decisions.
- Look at concussion at various times following the injury, using a computerized test (CNS Vital Signs) of neurocognitive functioning.
We are analyzing data from our outcomes study for concussion education and the impact it has had on practice patterns for local pediatricians. Using our continuing medical education (CME) modules via the web, the Children's Concussion Program has created a venue from which further education can be gained from our primary care settings to provide quality care at a lower cost.
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American College of Sports Medicine
- Brain Injury Association of America
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads Up
- Georgia High School Association
- National Collegiate Athletic Association
- National Federation of State High School Association
- USA Football Concussion Awareness