An interesting partnership between the Pasadena School district and Huntington Medical Research Institute has been formed. The researchers are offering free brain and heart scans for athletes in the school board in order to better understand the impact of brain injury on the youth.
The research team is particularly keen to follow the football players who are repeatedly subject to full body blows and blows to the head. The researchers have taken full scans of the kid’s brains and will compare them against follow up scans that will be done if an athlete is injured. In America these scans would cost between $2000 - $4000 and are providing peace of mind to the parents of the child athletes.
Researchers a keen to note that children are much slower to recover from TBI than adults, and tend to have longer lasting impacts of the injuries. They would like to determine why that is. To date there has been relatively little research done on children and TBI so this study hopes to give some insight to the nature of TBI damage to children. They also hope to determine how widespread the injuries to children are as many traumas are not detectable without the scan. So far they have only scanned 35 kids which isn’t enough o provide any statistically relevant information. Heart scans are also being performed to determine whether sudden death from cardiac arrest on the fields is somehow related to the TBI or other reasons.
If this research trial is successful the team hopes to expand it widely to include more school districts and children. They also hope to use this programme to protect children at risk from further brain damage.
The full news release can be viewed here.