Two important papers have emerged from the CARE Consortium in early 2021, reflecting the work of the Consortium to better understand concussion/mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in NCAA student-athletes and military service academy cadets/midshipmen.

Christina Master, MD (a CARE site Principal Investigator at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the University of Pennsylvania) and team published an article which found that female and male collegiate athletes take approximately the same amount of time to recover from a concussion, with subtle differences in recovery time depending on the type of sports being played and the division level. The findings suggest that equity in access to sports medical care among college athletes may be contributing to these similar outcomes.

“This study makes a strong case for equity in access to specialized athletic training and sports medical care,” Master said. “Title IX, which mandates equal access for both women and men to resources, such as sports, including athletic training and sports medical care, may have potentially helped to close any gap that exists in outcomes between the sexes. In the instances where recovery times did differ between the sexes, a re-examination of resource allocation might achieve a more equitable distribution to maximize outcomes for all athletes.”

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Michael McCrea, PhD (a CARE lead Principal Investigator at the Medical College of Wisconsin) and team published an article which investigated concussion incidence and head impact exposure (HIE) in collegiate football players. Both concussion and HIE were disproportionately higher in the preseason than the regular season, with most concussion and HIE occurring during the pre-season football practices, not games. These findings highlight areas in public policy and prevention strategies that could be targeted to make a great reduction in concussions in college football, ultimately making a positive impact on the health and safety of athletes.

“These findings offer a powerful opportunity to modify approaches to preseason training and football practices to keep players safer,” said Dr. McCrea. “By modifying practices and preseason training, football teams could greatly reduce the risk of injury and exposure for their players, while still maintaining the competitive nature of game play. Through a combination of policy and education, similar strategies could be implemented to help prevent concussion and HIE in high school and youth football, too.”

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CHOP Press Release: