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Richmond Youth Soccer to help scientists understand concussions

Richmond Youth Soccer players to take part in new concussion and brain-health study

Richmond FC has partnered the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC to help researchers gain a better understanding of concussions.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Richmond FC has partnered the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC to help researchers gain a better understanding of concussions.

When it comes to helping their kids, Richmond Youth Soccer is heading in the right direction.

Richmond FC has partnered with Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC to help researchers gain a better understanding of concussions, how the healing process works post-concussion, and then use that information to give physicians better tools to correctly diagnose, and therefore help heal, those suffering from them.

Utilizing new technology from EEGlewave Inc., researchers will be conducting Electroencephalography (EEG) scans – a non-invasive method of measuring brain voltage activity across the scalp – to gather data from the Richmond FC athletes.

The study starts with a “baseline” brain scan which will be compared with follow-up scans recorded over several years on a semi-frequent basis and after any suspected concussion, which will provide insight into how the brain reacts over time to concussion-related injuries.

 “Concussions are on the forefront of everybody’s mind,” said Rein Weber, Richmond FC Chairman. “We can’t prevent injuries, so we want to be there during the recovery process. This study fit right in as we were already trying to figure out what the right direction is for concussion protocols.

“The goal behind the research department is to see what happens to the brain during a concussion and see how the brain heals itself,” Weber added. “It’s really important. The whole concussion theory has changed so drastically over the last year that things they thought were right a year ago, well, that’s not right now.”

In North America an estimated 3.8 million concussions happen every year. While the majority of them work out fine within a couple weeks, more severe concussions can last anywhere from several months to even years, causing a major impact on a person’s life. Symptoms can include depression, headaches, nausea, insomnia and emotional irritability.

“Recent studies have shown that traditional neuropsychological tests used to assess concussions are subjective at best and inaccurate at worst,” Richmond FC stated in a press release.

As part of their arrangement, any player more than 10-years-old is eligible to take part in the research and recovery care in perpetuity.

The first round of scans took place on Sept. 17 and 18. Aside from any post-concussion scans, athletes will also be tested once every three months, six months, and then a year, Weber said.

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