A Report from the International Professional Sports Concussion Research Think Tank

Scientific and medical officials representing leading international sports organizations recently convened at the NFL offices for a two-day ‘Think Tank’ on concussion research, diagnosis, management and treatment.

The International Professional Sports Concussion Research Think Tank was assembled by DR. RICH ELLENBOGEN (Chairman, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington Co-chair, NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee), and three co-chairs of the 4th International Consensus on Concussion in Sport: DR. JIŘÍ DVOŘÁK (Chairman, FIFA Medical and Research Centre; Chief Medical Officer, FIFA); DR. PAUL MCCRORY (Associate Professor, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia) and DR. WILLEM MEEUWISSE (Professor, University of Calgary Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre and Hotchkiss Brain Institute).

Following a discussion on approaches to concussion management and research among sports, attendees identified areas where collaborative research among the sports leagues holds the promise to make sports safer for athletes at all levels.  The group intends to support research that enhances sideline assessment tools for concussion.  Additionally, the Think Tank is interested in examining how improved rehabilitation techniques can enhance recovery following concussion.  This is one of the first times that significantly coordinated research efforts will be undertaken among international sports federations and leagues.

“We intend to continue sharing knowledge and best practices to further advance sports safety,” said Dr. Ellenbogen. “Convening a global conversation on concussion research will only further the science and understanding of this unique injury, and make sports safer for athletes and the general population.”

“FIFA takes every opportunity to increase knowledge on concussion,” said Dr. Dvořák.  “The Think Tank will help fast track design and execute research programs to improve the recognition and management of concussion and enhance prospective studies already running at FIFA/F-MARC on this issue.”

“This is an exciting development in the science of sports concussion,” said Dr. McCrory. “Working with international sports leaders not only benefits athletes in professional sports but amateur participants throughout the world.”

“Bringing together the International Concussion in Sport Consensus group with these sporting organizations and military has provided a unique opportunity for research collaboration,” said Dr. Meeuwisse.

The event was attended by members of the following organizations:

•             Australian Football League

•             European Horseracing

•             Fédération Equestre Internationale

•             Fédération Internationale de Football Association

•             General Electric

•             International Rugby Board

•             National Collegiate Athletic Association

•             National Football League

•             National Hockey League

•             National Rugby League

•             Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

•             Under Armour

•             United States Army

•             United States Olympic Committee

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