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Florida State University College of Medicine, University of Florida Researching Concussions in Young Athletes

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Traumatic brain injury is one of the most significant public health problems in the United States, and it is the leading cause of death among young people. An estimated 1.7 million brain injuries occur each year, with 75% of injuries falling into the mild category1. Concussion is a common injury among young athletes. The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 300,000 sports-related concussions occur each year in the United States; the incidence of brain injuries in adolescent athletes ranges from 1.6 to 3.8 million annually.

Through a grant from the State University System of Florida Board of Governors, researchers from the Florida State University College of Medicine are collaborating with the University of Florida on a study focusing on sport related concussion in children and adolescents in Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville and Gainesville.  FSU CoM community faculty will conduct baseline and incident concussion data using the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2, or SCAT2. Developed in 2008 at the 3rd International Consensus Meeting on Concussion in Sport, the SCAT2 represents a brief, standardized assessment of physical symptoms, cognition, balance, and coordination. The SCAT2 also contains a brief sideline assessment scale, the Maddocks score, which can be used to briefly evaluate suspected concussions at the time they occur.  The instrument yields a set of overall scores that can be used to evaluate concussion severity and recovery.  This study incorporates the use of health information technology, iPads and a SCAT2 application, to more efficiently collect data and streamline the administration process for community healthcare providers.

FSU CoM’s model of community education provides a valuable infrastructure to facilitate the incorporation of varied and diverse healthcare settings into practice-based clinical research. In this study, Tallahassee and Orlando participants include large urban public hospitals, private practices in urban, suburban and rural areas, pediatric and family medicine residency programs, and school-based health clinics. Inclusion of FSU CoM’s community faculty providers in this study is a vital contribution to the research, providing access to racially, ethnically, geographically, and economically diverse patients, and providing research sites in the kinds of healthcare settings where most people receive their healthcare.

For more information on sport-related concussion, read the Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport (2), from the 3rd international conference on concussion in sport held in Zurich in November, 2008. Explore the Sports Concussion  Assessment Tool (SCAT2), and watch a demonstration of the instrument.


(1) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, C.f.D.C.a.I.P., Report to Congress on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States:  Steps to Prevent a Serious Public Health Problem. 2003.
(2) McCrory, P., et al., Consensus statement on concussion in sport - The 3rd international conference on concussion in sport held in Zurich, November 2008. PM&R, 2009. 1(5):406-20.