Together, we will protect the brain from concussion

Concussions are causing more damage to Canadians than ever before.

The brain is the most complicated system in the universe. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most delicate. A three-pound mass suspended in fluid, it is extremely vulnerable to injury.

The incidence of concussion – damage that occurs when the brain strikes the inside of the skull – has doubled in the last 10 years to 3 million in North America. Why? Our population is active and also aging. Concussion can affect anyone and it is the leading cause of brain injury.

The University of Calgary is uniquely suited to address the issue of concussion. Brain and mental health is an area of research excellence for the university. Preventing and treating concussion and brain injury is a priority.

Experts from the faculties of Arts and Kinesiology, the Cumming School of Medicine, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute have created a collaborative, integrated approach to address the growing societal concern about concussions.

Together, we will find new ways to keep the brain safe.

Making history

Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High — our most ambitious fundraising campaign to date — closes in June 2020. Get ready to be a part of our history!

Exploring how to prevent concussions

Our research into two prime areas – injury prevention in youth sport/recreation and concussion – has led to changes that have furthered injury prevention across Canada and the world.

Our work in communities has led to greater awareness.

The Faculty of Kinesiology conducts internationally recognized research. It is one of only four International Olympic Committee Centres of Excellence in Research in Injury and Illness Prevention in Sport in the world.

By working on how to prevent concussions, we can save people a lifetime of pain.

Helping young athletes safely enjoy sports

Hockey Canada voted several years ago to eliminate body checking for peewee players, in large part thanks to the work of Carolyn Emery, PhD, and Dr. Willem Meeuwisse.

These key members of the Integrated Concussion Research Program led research demonstrating a threefold increase in the risk of injuries for peewee players (11 and 12-year-olds) who check – compared to those where body checking is not allowed until an older level.

The pair works with the International Olympic Committee to advance knowledge of concussion beyond hockey.

Understanding diagnosis and prognosis

The Integrated Concussion Research Program is devising new approaches to diagnosis. It is preventing re-injury, enabling effective approaches to treatment and leading to faster identification of concussion.

Advanced imaging technologies such as MRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) are allowing researchers to study the brain’s structure and the way it functions.

Knowing who will recover quickly and who will have long-standing issues help to determine approaches to concussion.

Developing new ways to look inside the brain

A new imaging technique created at the University of Calgary allows researchers like Jeff Dunn (Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Imaging) to study oxygen levels in the brain and detect changes.

Breakthroughs like this new imaging technique will pave the way for future advances in imaging, specifically the monitoring of concussions.

In addition to having a treatment that is predictable, health professionals will be able to recommend to patients when they can return to their daily lives.

Improving treatment and rehabilitation

We are unlocking the secrets of how concussions can impact each person individually, because every brain is unique.

Some people recover quickly, while others experience symptoms for months after the injury.

Work is underway to reverse the effects of injury and rehabilitate people.

Researchers within the Integrated Concussion Research Program are sparking new discoveries. They are exploring new approaches to treatment such as physiotherapy, nerve blocks, electrical stimulation and drug therapy.

Physiotherapy discovery helps athletes

New research by Kathryn Schneider, a member of the Integrated Concussion Research Program, has made inroads for physiotherapy in concussion treatment.

Combining physiotherapy concussion treatment with additional therapy – of the neck and balance system – is four times more likely to lead to an athlete’s medical clearance for return to sport within eight weeks.

Schneider’s discovery reveals a new path for a hands-on, active physiotherapy that might prove to be more effective than current standards of care for those with post-concussion symptoms.

Join us in protecting the brain from concussion

Contact information

Laureen Jensen
Director of Development, Hotchkiss Brain Institute
Cumming School of Medicine