New URMC study hopes to detect concussions in kids before symptoms show


ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — If you have a child who plays sports, URMC is about to conduct a new study that could improve how doctors and coaches detect concussions in them and get them on the path for a faster recovery.  

Sports Medical researchers have found this age group is the most at risk for long-lasting effects from concussions because their brain is still developing. But by testing blood samples and the pattern of symptoms they show, they could link together to catch onto the threat ahead of time.  

The study will be done in two phases, by gathering about 240 children from 11-18 around Rochester with concussions. Then identify Atheist levels of blood pressure, heart rate, and pupil reactivity if they show serious symptoms as time goes on.  

“If your child got a concussion we would do this blood test on them right away,” Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, who’s on the study said. “Maybe within a week based on the blood test we’d be able to say that your child either was or was not at risk for having a headache lasting longer than three months.” 

Other common symptoms include memory problems, sleep disturbances, and anxiety which can last more than three months in young athletes. If doctors are able to predict through blood testing which kids develop these symptoms, treatment can begin early on so they recover faster. 

“We’re trying to identify them early and that’s a brand new task. It’s like predicting the future,” Dr. Bazarian added. “If we can predict the future then we can intervene early. The idea is early identification, early treatment.” 

This practice will repeat in the second phase for another group of children with a concussion. Once complete, local youth league coaches believe it can arm them with more knowledge to detect concussions.  

“I think it happens more often than people think,” Coach Brian Elniski of Elite Rochester Soccer Academy told us. “The awareness that we have now enabled us to recognize to deal with it in long-term solutions for the kids.” 

By using this sample group of kids to test, doctors also aim to get a grip on how to treat concussions for the general population since the majority of people are not top-level division one athletes or playing sports professionally as previous studies have focused on. The total amount in grants given for the study is $10 million in research. It’s being led by UCLA starting in January and will go on for four years. 

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