Reporting of sports-related concussions (SRCs) has risen dramatically over the last decade, increasing awareness of the need for treatment and prevention of SRCs. To date most prevention studies have focused on equipment and rule changes to sports in order to reduce the risk of injury. However, increased neck strength has been shown to be a predictor of concussion rate. In the TRAIN study, student-athletes will follow a simple neck strengthening program over the course of three years in order to better understand the relationship between neck strength and SRCs. Neck strength of all subjects will be measured at baseline and biannually over the course of the study using a novel protocol. Concussion severity and duration in any subject who incurs an SRC will be evaluated using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 5th edition, a questionnaire based tool utilizing several tests that are commonly affected by concussion, and an automated eye tracking algorithm. Neck strength, and improvement of neck strength, will be compared between concussed and non-concussed athletes to determine if neck strength can indeed reduce risk of concussion. Neck strength will also be analyzed taking into account concussion severity and duration to find if a strengthening program can provide a protective factor to athletes. The study population will consist of student-athletes, ages 12-23, from local high schools and colleges. These athletes are involved in a range of both contact and non-contact sports.
Keywords: ANOVA, Analysis of variance; Athlete; BAT-L, Boston Assessment of Traumatic Brain Injury Lifetime; Brain injury; CISG, Concussion in Sports Group; Concussion; Football; Head injuries; ICC, Intraclasss coefficient; IRB, Institutional Review Board; MMRF, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation; Neck strength; Prevention; SAC, Standardized Assessment of Concussion; SCAT5, Sports Concussion Assessment Tool; SRC, Sports-related concussion; Sports; Student; TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury.