CARE Consortium Study

Concussion assessment research is important because sports-related concussion (SRC) is a major public health issue and yet clinical management remains among the greatest challenges in sports medicine.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) are collaborating in a multi-tiered, multi-institution/investigator research consortium to address public concerns and existing gaps in the basic and clinical science related to the natural history, evaluation and management, and prevention of SRC. The Concussion Assessment Research Education (CARE) Consortium Longitudinal Clinical Study is led by the University of Michigan to assess the natural history of concussion.

CHOP serves as a CARE Consortium Study site in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Christina L. Master, MD serves as principal investigator for the CHOP site. 

Study Details

Study Objectives

CHOP's cohort study will enroll and conduct baseline assessments on Penn varsity student-athletes. Those who experience concussion(s) will complete an immediate post-concussion and follow-up assessments.The primary objective of this concussion assessment research is to conduct a prospective, longitudinal, multi-sport, cohort study that delineates the natural history of concussion in both men and women by incorporating a multi-dimensional assessment of standardized clinical measures of post-concussive symptomatology, performance-based testing (cognitive function, postural stability), and psychological health.

Investigational Plan

CHOP’s involvement in the CARE consortium began in September 2016, when approximately 1,000 varsity student-athletes and cheerleaders from Penn Athletics were invited to participate at the beginning of their sport competitive season. New varsity student-athletes are invited to participate each year.  Over 30 institutions have participated in the consortium since 2014 enrolling over 40,000 student athletes and collecting detailed data on over 3,000 concussions. Data from UPenn athletes will be aggregated with data from the other performance sites as part of the larger NCAA-DoD Grand Alliance: CARE Consortium project.

All participants will complete a baseline assessment prior to the official start of their respective competitive sport season. Information will be collected via questionnaires and assessments on the following:

  • demographics
  • medical history
  • symptoms
  • neurological and neurocognitive functions
  • oculomotor and vestibular functions
Study Participant FAQs

What if a participant is diagnosed with a concussion? If a subject is diagnosed with a concussion at any point after enrollment, they will complete post-concussion assessments at scheduled intervals. Immediately, post-concussion participants will complete neurological, postural stability, visio-vestibular, and symptom assessments. They will complete daily symptom checks until they are symptom free. They will receive post-concussion follow-ups at set intervals until 6 months post-concussion which will include neurocognitive, neurological, postural stability, oculomotor, vestibular, and symptom assessments.

Why are oculomotor and vestibular functions important? Vision disorders and vestibular deficits are common in young concussion patients and can hinder their recovery and getting back to normal school and athletic routines.

Select CARE Consortium Research Publication

Differences in Sport-related Concussion for Female and Male Athletes in Comparable Collegiate Sports

This study collected data on 1,071 concussions that occurred between 2014 and 2017 across more than 30 colleges, universities and service academies participating in the CARE Consortium, a NCAA and Department of Defense collaborative research effort. Minds Matter researchers found no difference in the concussion recovery times of female and male collegiate athletes in comparable sports. The study did find subtle differences in recovery time depending on the type of sport and the division level of the sport. While biological sex differences in concussion recovery may exist, the findings suggest that improved equity in access to sports medical care among college athletes may be contributing to these similar outcomes. Read the press release.