Each year between 1.7 and 3 million people end up with a sports- and recreation-related concussion in the U.S. That’s according to statistics gathered by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, which see more than 17,000 patients a year.
This fall, concussion experts from around the country will come to Pittsburgh to discuss the treatment of the mild traumatic brain injury.
“Thirty to 35 of the greatest scientific minds around the country will be meeting as a group to hopefully achieve an understanding and consensus on outlining active approaches to treating this injury,” said Micky Collins, executive and clinical director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
Treatment of concussions has improved dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years, according to Collins. But he said there are still many different approaches to managing the injury.
“When I first started doing this work, smelling salts and ‘how many fingers am I holding up?’ predicated return to play, and now it’s something that’s on everyone’s mind with football and many other sports,” said Collins.
Over the past decade, there have been summits and conferences abroad where participants agreed upon definitions, evaluations and on-field protocols, but this marks the inaugural U.S. meeting focused strictly on active therapies, treatments and best clinical practices for concussions, according to UPMC. Collins said while many advances have been made, more will follow.
“We need more science,” he said. “We need clinical trials. There’s a lot of things we’ll need moving forward from a scientific standpoint. Advances are being made, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop here. There’s so much more to do.”
The two-day meeting will take place Oct. 15-16 and is fully funded by a grant from the NFL Foundation. The NFL has interest in the topic as some 300,000 of the concussions nationally are football-related.