Research Highlights

Back to News Archive
NFL gives significant funding to help youth ‘Shred’ the burden of concussion
The National Football League’s Scientific Advisory Board is funding a pan-Canadian research initiative that aims to reduce concussions and their consequences in youth sport on a national level. Dr. Ian Shrier, a sports medicine physician and Senior Investigator at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital, is a co-principal investigator and national co-lead of analysis on the project.

SHRed Concussions, short for Surveillance in High Schools to Reduce Concussions and Consequences of Concussions in Youth, will provide a national platform for concussion surveillance in high schools to evaluate novel and sustainable solutions for concussion prevention that will have significant impact in reducing the risk of sport-related concussions and their consequences in youth. Some 6,000 high school athletes between the ages of thirteen and fifteen across five provinces will be followed over a three-year period in order to evaluate the causes, recovery, and treatment of concussion. Youth account for more than half of the annual burden of more than three million concussions annually in North America.

“Few studies have looked at the mechanisms of concussion in teenagers, and certainly none with the depth of data we will be gathering in SHRed,” said Dr. Shrier, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McGill University, “so we don’t have a full understanding of their physiological effects on the adolescent brain, which is what makes this study so important. Ultimately, our hope would be to help make youth sports safer.”

The SHRed Concussions research team includes more than 35 researchers representing nine Canadian universities and more than 30 community, government, and industry partners. Research includes a variety of youth sports, including ice hockey, rugby, football, lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading.
“This is an exciting and truly a Pan-Canadian research initiative aimed to reduce the burden of concussions in youth sport nationally. We are grateful for the support from the NFL Scientific Advisory Board,” says Dr. Carolyn Emery, Chair of The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, who is the nominated principal investigator and project lead of SHRed.
“We hope to determine those factors that make kids more susceptible to concussions,” said Dr. Shrier. “It could relate to their balance, conditioning, how well they perceive the field of play and can avoid injury, the technique they employ in tackling or bodychecking, for example. We are going to evaluate all these variables and more so that, hopefully, we can reduce the incidents of concussion.”

This study will provide insight into the development, implementation and evaluation of novel and sustainable approaches to concussion prevention through rule changes, equipment recommendations, and training strategies.

About the NFL Scientific Advisory Board
Through the NFL’s Play Smart. Play Safe. initiative, $40 million in funding was allotted for medical research, primarily dedicated to neuroscience. The NFL assembled a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprising leading independent experts, doctors, scientists and clinicians to develop and lead a clear process to identify and support compelling proposals for scientific research. The SAB is chaired by Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army General (Retired), former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and former CEO of One Mind, a brain research-related non-profit organization.

For media inquiries, and to arrange interviews with Dr. Shrier contact:

Tod Hoffman
Research Communications Officer
Lady Davis Institute
Tel.: 514-340-8222 x 28661

Support research at the Lady Davis Institute - Jewish General Hospital