Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University have received a two-year grant worth approximately $510,000 to support their continued participation in the largest-ever study of sports-related concussion.
The NCAA-Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research and Education (CARE) Consortium study is designed to examine the incidence and effects of concussion and repetitive head-impact exposure among student-athletes of both sexes at colleges and universities in all NCAA divisions. Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State are among the 30 NCAA members participating in the study.
Since the summer of 2016 Wake Forest Baptist personnel have directed comprehensive baseline screening for concussion on all athletes (including cheerleaders) at Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State and conducted follow-up evaluations on all those who have suffered concussions.
The researchers are now also collecting saliva samples from the athletes for DNA analysis to determine if there are any differences between the DNA of those who have suffered concussion and those who have not.
Wake Forest Baptist’s data-collection activities are led by Christopher Miles, M.D., at Wake Forest and Laura Lintner, D.O., at Winston-Salem State. Both are sports medicine physicians and assistant professors of family and community medicine at the Medical Center who are affiliated with the respective schools’ athletic programs.
Wake Forest competes in 16 sports in NCAA Division I. Winston-Salem State — the only historically black college or university participating in the study — fields varsity teams in 10 sports in Division II.
The information gathered from the student-athletes at the various schools is analyzed by a research team led by scientists at the University of Michigan, Medical College of Wisconsin and Indiana University School of Medicine.
The CARE Consortium, begun in 2014, has to date collected data from more than 40,000 male and female college athletes, including more than 3,000 who have suffered concussions, and published 10 peer-reviewed research papers.