FIA Collaborates on Global Concussion Study | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

FIA Collaborates on Global Concussion Study

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FIA joins Neuro Kinetics, University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation for launch of racing driver concussion study

The FIA is collaborating with neuro-diagnostic company Neuro Kinetics (NKI), the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to launch a comprehensive and potentially transformational motorsport concussion study.

Entitled RESCUE-RACER (Research Evaluating Sports ConcUssion Events – Rapid Assessment of Concussion and Evidence for Return) this two-year study of motorsport concussion incorporates the most promising and technologically-advanced concussion assessment systems currently available.

These include: NKI’s innovative I-PAS™ (I-Portal® Portable Assessment System), which is already used in IndyCar; the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB); salivary biomarkers; and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) at 7T.

The study begins by collecting baseline data from professional racing drivers in the United Kingdom with post-injury tests to be run during the 2019 race season.  It consists of two parts: the first, CarBON (Competitor Assessment at Baseline; Ocular, Neuroscientific), will investigate 40 UK-based racing drivers at baseline; and the second, CARS (Concussion Assessment and Return to motorSport), assesses a minimum of 20 drivers serially in the acute post-injury period (1-3 weeks).

Primary study support is provided by the FIA’s 2018 Sid Watkins Scholar and RESCUE-RACER Study Coordinator, Dr. Naomi Deakin, who is based at Cambridge University. Her work is overseen by Prof. Peter Hutchinson, Professor of Neurosurgery at Cambridge University and Chief Medical Officer for the British Grand Prix.

“The project represents a significant step for motorsport medicine,” said Prof. Hutchinson. “RESCUE-RACER prospectively follows drivers through a racing season and uses state-of-the-art assessment tools and imaging. This represents a tremendous opportunity to improve the management of drivers with concussion and traumatic brain injury in terms assisting recovery and enabling return to safe driving.”

The ambitious goal of this project is to establish the natural history of symptoms and signs of concussion sustained in motorsport activity using a comprehensive neuroscientific battery, by exploring emerging technologies for objective assessments that can assist with concussion diagnosis and prognostication.  After an accident, there is obvious concern for the individual racer, but a concussed driver also presents a potentially lethal risk to other competitors, as well as spectators and crew.

RESCUE-RACER is expected to result in evidenced-based, medical decision-making protocols for track-side evaluation after potentially concussive incidents and a plan for clinical management of motorsports concussion, including the important ‘return-to-race’ decision.

The overall findings of the project, which is being funded by the FIA Foundation, could also translate into enhanced care for road traffic accident victims on public roads.  

For further information see the latest issue of AUTO+Medical