Texas Sports Concussion Registry

Concussion has become an important topic and public health concern in recent years, yet much remains to be learned about concussion diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Network, Texas has more student athletes than any other state (NFHS, 2014-2015), with 804,598 student athletes across boys’ and girls’ sports. The incidence of sports-related concussion across the state is unknown, and there is a need to obtain this information in order to track trends, improve safety, and better understand and treat concussion among school-age youth participating in sports.

CON-TEX Registry Study

UIL and TIBIR

In July 2015, the Texas Legislature’s Sunset Advisory Commission adopted a management action (nonstatutory) directing collaboration between the University Interscholastic League and UT Southwestern (SUNSET TEXAS, 2015) [1]:

“…As a management action, direct UIL to immediately take all proactive steps to commence establishing a collaborative relationship with UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair, a state-funded initiative to promote innovative research and education, with the goals of accelerating translation into better diagnosis and revolutionizing care for millions of people who suffer brain injuries each year…” (Representative Four Price, Vice Chair – Sunset Advisory Commission).

The registry would constitute the first step toward the development of one of the first statewide concussion registries in the United States. The project aims to document and track concussion incidence, examine injury characteristics, and identify risk factors among school-aged athletes.

In October 2015, TIBIR established the Concussion Network of North Texas (ConTex), a study that spans four major medical institutions in the Dallas region and collects detailed data regarding concussion recovery. The ConTex study has set the stage for the following proposal to begin collecting data on concussions in high school athletes attending Texas UIL schools as part of the ConTex Sports Health Initiative.

The ConTex  data collection interface and database could serve as a model for other states, as well as for the Concussion Surveillance System proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, placing Texas at the forefront of this important movement to study concussion and enhance sports safety across the country.

ConTex will:

  • Record and track incidence of concussion in school aged children participating in UIL sports across Texas.
  • Provide meaningful analysis of data collected to evaluate regional differences in concussion and factors which may affect recovery and return to play and return to learn times.

The goal of this project is to develop a state-of-the-art database designed to capture information about concussion injuries from voluntary participants participating in all UIL schools. This database will allow for quarterly reporting of statistics related to concussion across the state of Texas to the UIL, monitoring of concussion trends over time, and set the stage for future research questions to be addressed.

  • Aim 1: Create a concussion “minimum dataset” of key variables relating to concussion for all schools involved with the UIL.
  • Aim 2: Connect a centralized database managed and securely accessed by the UT Southwestern ConTex study group to a state-of-the-art data capture infrastructure which tracks concussion reporting that will include a web/cloud based, mobile accessible portal. ConTex will provide a platform that will allow future archival research addressing a variety of concussion-related questions (e.g., incidence, risk factors, recovery patterns, etc.) and represent the initial stage of a state-wide concussion tracking system.
  • Aim 3: UTSW investigators will monitor and analyze data and provide periodic reports to the UIL regarding observed trends and recommendations for future initiatives aimed at concussion education, prevention, identification, and monitoring.

North Texas Sports Concussion Registry

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there is growing recognition of the importance of brain injury in youth, collegiate, and amateur adult sports. Many health professionals care for individuals with sports-related concussion and mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) but there is currently no coordination or standardization of care management and no study to evaluate the treatment or outcomes of this population.

The clinic-based CON-TEX study is designed to capture comprehensive, longitudinal data on sports-related concussion and mild TBI subjects. The data will give a “snapshot” of the current state of concussion assessment and treatment in youth athletes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The information gathered will be the foundation on which the design of rigorous clinical research and valuation of treatments will be built. Individuals enrolled in the registry will have the opportunity to participate in future clinical trials testing innovative therapies and diagnostic approaches.

CON-TEX is a collaborative effort among UT Southwestern, Children’s Healthâ„  Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, UT Dallas, and Texas Health Resources Ben Hogan Sports Clinics.

Munro Cullum, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, is the principal investigator of the study and has assembled a team of leaders in concussion, TBI, sports medicine, pediatric neurology, sports neuropsychology, and neurosurgery to participate and represent each institution. This multidisciplinary approach will allow for the comprehensive examination of concussion in young athletes and current management strategies. Knowledge from these studies will guide best practices to improve the long-term health of student and adult athletes in Texas and beyond. CON-TEX is supported by TIBIR (Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair) and a generous donation by the David M. Crowley Foundation.