DAMAGE CONTROL: GISBORNE STUDENTS PLAY PIVOTAL ROLE IN CONCUSSION STUDY


Article from Gisborne Herald. Written by Avneesh Vincent.


Thirty-three Gisborne Boys’ High rugby players have taken part in a ground-breaking study which could help sportspeople and others recover more quickly from the debilitating effects of concussion.


The first 15 and second 15 players were enlisted last season for the study by Mātai Medical Research Institute — based in Gisborne — in collaboration with several New Zealand institutions.


They were fitted with high tech mouthguards with sensors which registered the finer points of “hits” to the players. Off-field tests were also conducted.


The collaborative study into mild traumatic brain injury aims to more accurately determine, using “objective tests”, whether a patient suffered a concussion, allowing earlier and tailored treatments.


Dr Josh McGeown, a Mātai Research Fellow and core member of the AUT Traumatic Brain Injury Network, said the aim of the research was to fill gaps in how concussion was managed and empower clinicians to make a real difference in outcomes for those struggling with “invisible” but debilitating symptoms.


“If we can see the damage inside the brain, we can understand the efficacy of different rehabilitation approaches to inform precision medicine in the future,” Dr McGeown said.


“For example, if we could eventually visualise the damage in much the same way we can see a broken bone on an X-ray, we may be better equipped to predict different recovery outcomes and prescribe early interventions accordingly.”


Dr McGeown said there were no objective methods to diagnose a concussion.