A pioneering pilot study on sports concussion – the first of its kind worldwide – that will use the retina of the eye as a potential assessment tool in the diagnosis of concussion was launched today by Institute of Technology Carlow.
Dr. Clare Lodge, a chartered physiotherapist and lecturer in sports rehabilitation and athletic therapy at Institute of Technology Carlow, will lead the two-year project, which is being funded by the Irish Research Council. The study will concentrate on ocular metrics, monitoring intraocular pressure measurements and retinal imagery in 200 contact sports participants, aged 18-24 years. Participants in the pioneering programme will include members of Kilkenny’s All-Ireland winning camogie team and League of Ireland team, Shamrock Rovers.
Concussion remains a global issue. The leading national public health institute of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has reported that 20% of the annual 1.7 million concussions sustained in the US are sports-related. Separately, research found that contact sports such as rugby union exposes the player to a 28% risk of potential concussion. There are currently more than 6 million registered rugby union players in 119 countries. Single incident concussions are not the only concern; 49% of 133 interviewees during an Ulster schools Rugby surveillance study said they had sustained a prior concussion, highlighting its prevalence.