IU researchers receive a $ 2.9 million grant to expand work on subconcussive effects

Each year, nearly 2.5 million U.S. high school athletes participate in contact sports. Each of these athletes sustains an average of 650 subconcussive head effects in a single season, hits that can adversely affect brain health.

A $ 2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will help researchers at Indiana University determine whether, and to what extent, recurrent subconcussive head effects – effects that do not promote signs that are susceptible – clinically recognized and symptoms of concordance – adversely affecting brain health in adolescents. If repeated, subconcussive effects can induce subclinical and molecular cell disruption in brain cells. Ultimately, IU research will help establish safety guidelines for young athletes who are vulnerable to head effects.

This large-scale study uses state-of-the-art neurologic assessments to monitor the brain health of high school football players. This will be a memorable study to understand safe or dangerous levels of head effects in high school football, so that we can provide a safe platform for players to enjoy football. “

Kei Kawata, Director of Research, Associate Professor of Kinesiology, IU-Bloomington School of Public Health

The project is an extension of a Kawata study piloted in 2019 with a focus on subconcussive targeting among football athletes at Bloomington North High School in Indiana. The current project will run for four years and will involve athletes from North Bloomington High School, South Bloomington High School, Edgewood High School and Mooresville High School.

Adolescence is a particularly vulnerable time for neurode development. While head injuries in athletes continue to be the focus of researchers around the world, Kawata’s research is unique in that it focuses on repetitive subconcussive head injuries that are not. essential triggers immediate symptoms such as headache, chills and upset.

Using computer oral, neurological imaging and blood samples, Kawata and his team measure all the effects athletes experience during play, assessing eyeball ability and eyelid movement, processing information, and blood biomarkers.

Kawata said that playing sports gives young people important skills and lifelong memories. He said the aim of his work is to ensure that young athletes enjoy sport in the safest way possible.

That goal is important to athletic leaders such as Andrew Hodson, who said working with researchers at IU has helped inform his school’s athletic programs and keep students safe.

“At the (Monroe County Community School Corp.), we place the health and safety of student-athletes as our top priority,” said Hodson, director of athletics at North Bloomington High School. “We are grateful for our longstanding relationship with Dr. Kawata and IU, and for this critical investigation addressing important safety concerns for our athletes and their parents.

“Athletics provides meaningful opportunities for students to engage in physical activity and be part of a team, and we want this to continue in the safest way possible. We look forward to being part of this important project. “