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Neurochemistry Research Group

Division of Neurosurgery

Research Evaluating Sports ConcUssion Events—Rapid Assessment of Concussion and Evidence for Return (RESCUE-RACER): a two-year longitudinal observational study of concussion in motorsport

 The RESCUE-RACER programme is a two-year study of motorsport concussion, in partnership with world motorsport’s governing body Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). It will incorporate the most promising and technologically advanced concussion assessment tools currently available to establish and assess the progression of concussion symptoms in motorsports.

The study protocol has been published in the British Journal of Medicine, here.

The study consists of two parts. The first investigates 40 UK-based racing drivers at baseline, recruiting mainly from the British Touring Car Championship and its associated series. Post-injury tests are open to international motorsport competitors, to be carried out during the 2019 race season. The second part assesses a minimum of 20 drivers in the acute post-injury period (up to three weeks after injury).

The tests will involve measures such as eye tracking, balance, and reaction time, with data collected using technology developed by Neuro Kinetics, Inc, with whom the researchers are collaborating. The team will also collect data using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) as well as salivary biomarkers. They will use the latest, powerful 7T functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanners, which assess brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow.

Primary study support is provided by the FIA’s 2018 Sid Watkins Scholar and RESCUE-RACER Study Coordinator Dr Naomi Deakin. The Principal Investigator is Professor Peter Hutchinson.

The goal of the study is to establish the progression of symptoms and signs of concussion sustained in motorsport activity using a comprehensive battery of scientific tests by exploring emerging technologies for objective assessments that can assist with concussion diagnosis and prognosis. Improved care for head-injured racers could translate into enhanced care for road-traffic accident victims from the general population.

The RESCUE-RACER (Research Evaluating Sports ConcUssion Events – Rapid Assessment of Concussion and Evidence for Return) programme is funded by the FIA Foundation and supported by Neuro Kinetics. It is jointly sponsored by the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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