One of the First in the World: New Concussion Research Centre Focuses on Kids and Youth

TORONTO, Oct. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital launched its Concussion Research Centre dedicated to kids and youth. The centre, which is one of the first in the world, is being generously funded through grants from the Canadian government and a $1-million gift from the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA). The Concussion Research Centre will fill a gap in the understanding of concussion in children.

"Until now, concussion research has largely focused on adults, but we know that the brains and bodies of youth and children are continually developing," said Dr. Michelle Keightley, senior clinician scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute. "This makes them significantly more vulnerable to the effects of a concussion."

Dr. Keightley and her team are the recipients of two major grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to support mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) research. The funding, totaling $1.2 million dollars over the next five years, will support the "NeuroCare" research project which focuses on three crucial paths to improving concussion treatment: identification, assessment, and management for kids and youth. Ultimately, this research will provide insight into the optimal timing to return youth to activity following concussion.

A significant number of youth are at risk for concussion. Dr. Keightley estimates that 10-15% of all Ontario minor league hockey players suffer concussions each year. This translates into approximately 36,000 concussions every year in Ontario, or two or three hockey players per team. Early research by Dr. Keightley and her team has found that post-concussed youth, even those no longer experiencing outward concussion symptoms, still showed poorer cognitive performance compared to their non-concussed peers in real world multi-tasking tests.

"We know very little about how the developing brain responds to concussions. Until we fill that knowledge gap, many Canadian children are at risk," says team member Dr. Nicholas Reed, clinician scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute. "Without specific research support for the pediatric population, current recommendations for rest alone following concussion may be doing kids more harm than good. Our research will identify best practices for getting kids back to the activities they enjoy."

In addition to the CIHR funding, Holland Bloorview is proud to announce that TADA's $1,000,000 gift will support concussion research and a clinic that will provide, among other services, education focused on concussion in youth. With their support, Holland Bloorview's new Concussion Research Centre hopes to transform the way kids' concussions are managed locally, nationally and internationally.

"The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association is proud to extend its long-standing commitment to the communities our members serve throughout Ontario, with this landmark gift to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital," said Sandy Liguori, President of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Foundation. "It is a remarkable hospital with an incredible history of helping kids and their families. On behalf of the New Car Dealers of Ontario, we are very excited to play an integral role in the establishment of the Concussion Research Centre at Holland Bloorview."

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Holland Bloorview is Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life.

The Bloorview Research Institute

The Bloorview Research Institute is the only hospital-embedded pediatric rehabilitation institute in Canada. Established in 2004, the internationally recognized Bloorview Research Institute is dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities through client and family-centred rehabilitation research.

SOURCE: Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

For further information:

Media Contact:  
Michelle Halsey, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
416.425.6220 x 6409 | mhalsey@hollandbloorview.ca

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Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

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