NFL provides University of Calgary $12M for research into youth concussions

Calgary was one of five universities to receive a total of $35M

University of Calgary researcher Carolyn Emery will lead the pan-Canadian research program funded by the National Football League’s scientific advisory board. Photos by Colleen De Neve, for the Faculty of Kinesiology

CALGARY — The University of Calgary is receiving $12 million from the National Football League for research into how to reduce concussion rates in young players.

The funding comes from the league’s scientific advisory board and its Play Smart, Play Safe program.

The university is the only Canadian school among five institutions in North America that were awarded a total of US$35 million.

Carolyn Emery, lead researcher in the faculty of kinesiology, says more than one in 10 youth in Canada sustain a sports-related concussion each year.

Almost one-third of those reoccur and one-third of kids will have symptoms for months.

Emery says research will evaluate risk factors, look at how to predict recovery and gauge effectiveness of concussion prevention across multiple sports including hockey, rugby, football, lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading.

“We will recruit over 6,000 high school students across 60 schools nationally and we will follow these students for three years,” Emery said Thursday.

“It’s a huge opportunity for prevention and management as we try to harmonize efforts across Canada.”

Emery said youth account for more than 50 per cent of the three million concussions in North America annually.

The funding will help move forward a project of national scope to identify different ways to prevent concussions in sport, she said.

“One is through equipment recommendations, one is through rules or policy changes and the third is through training strategies such as contact drills.”

(CTV Calgary, The Canadian Press)

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