Tackling the mysteries of concussion, head on
In 2011, a group of scientists working across Western University began a series of collaborations on concussion research and have since focused their efforts to seek solutions to the problem of sports-related concussion. The breadth of expertise in this group ranges from basic molecular biology, cellular biology, biomechanics, immunology and exercise physiology to state-of-the-art imaging, public health and clinical sciences.
No other institution in Canada or around the world has the broad array of clinical, neuropathological, neuroimaging, neurochemistry, neuropsychological, sports medicine and engineering expertise under a single “roof” that’s required to address the problem of sports-related concussion.
Research with Impact
Developing therapies to treat and prevent the acute and long-term consequences of concussion.
Young hockey players who have suffered concussions may still show changes in the white matter of the brain months after being cleared to return to play, researchers at Western University have found through sophisticated Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques.
Through the discovery of a new testing method, Drs. Douglas Fraser and Mark Daley have developed a cost-efficient blood test able to detect the presence of clinically significant concussions.
The Incredible Legacy of Rowan Stringer
Rowan Stringer was just 17-years-old when she died after being hit in the head twice in less than a week while playing high school rugby. Her parents Gord and Kathleen Stringer decided quickly that telling Rowan’s story was going to be something they needed to do. They turned to Lisa MacLeod, their local member of provincial parliament for Nepean-Carleton and started building “Rowan’s Team” - a group that has been championing for Bill 193, Rowan’s Law. One of the first people in the medical community Ms. MacLeod reached out to was Dr. Mike Strong, Dean of Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Dr. Strong and many others have been actively supporting this important Bill. Gord and Kathleen continue to show tremendous courage in telling Rowan’s story.
Researchers at Western University have uncovered a unique neurobiological pathway triggered by head trauma which underlies both Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
Researchers at Western University have shown that a regular season of play can cause changes in the brain that are similar to changes caused by concussion, though less severe.
Haojie Mao is working to understand traumatic brain injury (TBI) through collaborations with Western neuroscientists and neurobiologists. And those researchers are looking to crack the brain-injury code with help from Mao, a world-class engineer.
The nature of head impacts in soccer is different than in football and hockey, where players wear helmets, making this study especially pertinent. The ultimate goal of the study is to understand the effects of repeated head impacts and potentially reduce the risk of injury for players.
Theo Versteegh, BSc’98, MSc’10, PhD’16, has developed TopSpin 360, a weighted football helmet used to strengthen the neck of athletes.
Former NHL great and 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Eric Lindros, along with internationally renowned researcher Arthur Brown, are inspiring a team of investors to take up the NHLPA challenge in support of concussion research.