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Long-term Brain Health of Retired Professional Rugby Players, With a History of Concussion/Head Impact Exposure

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03544346
Recruitment Status : Not yet recruiting
First Posted : June 1, 2018
Last Update Posted : June 1, 2018
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Joice Cunningham, University of Dublin, Trinity College

Brief Summary:

There has been significant recent interest on the issue of brain health in athletes. Participation in sports is generally viewed as extremely positive. Consistent evidence supports associations among exercise, cognitive vitality, neural functioning and decreased risk of cognitive decline. However, In the last decade, a dramatic shift in both public and scientific perception around the long-term consequences of concussion is evident. Rugby is a popular full-contact sport played throughout the world at varying levels of competition, including professional level. The game exposes players to inherent risk of injury including repetitive head impacts, due to the high number of collisions and tackles involved. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the physical nature of the sport, rugby has one of the highest rates of concussion of all full-contact sports. Evidence from a recent meta-anaysis found the incidence of concussion to be 4.73 per 1000 player match hours. Given the high incidence of concussion that has been reported in the literature to date, the issue of concussion and repeated head impact exposure is of particular concern in rugby.

Comprehensive investigation of cognition in living retired sports persons with previous exposure to repetitive head impact is noticeably lacking in the literature to date. Findings are inconsistent and investigations are shrouded by consistent methodological biases and flaws, reducing the overall quality of the studies. Relatively little research has been conducted on the long-term effects of repetitive mild TBI or sports concussion on the retired athlete's brain health with ageing. The potential long-term consequences are poorly understood and warrant more research. This study aims to investigate the brain health of retired rugby players in comparison to retired rowers who have achieved the same levels of exercise, without exposure to SRCs


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Brain Health Retired Elite Athletes Other: Exploratory brain and general health assessment

Detailed Description:

The primary aim of this study is to investigate brain health and wellness of retired professional Irish rugby players in comparison to retired professional Irish rowers.

Objectives:

The objectives will be to:

Obtain detailed demographic and overall health information from the retired rugby players and retired rowers.

Use a battery of cognitive function tests to assess the cognitive health of the retired rugby players and retired rowers.

Obtain blood samples from the retired rugby players and retired rowers in order to test for biomarkers indicative of neurodegenerative disease.

Investigate rugby player's self-report history of sports-related concussion (number and nature of concussions) during their career. Player's self-report will be correlated where possible with established individual player medical data.


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Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 200 participants
Observational Model: Case-Control
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: An Investigation Into the Long-term Brain Health of Retired Professional Rugby Players, With a History of Concussion/Head Impact Exposure
Estimated Study Start Date : June 18, 2018
Estimated Primary Completion Date : December 15, 2018
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 15, 2018

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Health Checkup

Group/Cohort Intervention/treatment
Retired professional rugby players

Rugby Players will Provide detailed demographic information Provide detailed overall health information Questionnaires Provide information on athlete's playing career; age of debut, career duration, number of seasons participated in. Provide information on concussion history. Be given a general health screen including- heart rate, blood pressure, body composition and height weight ratio.

Perform a battery of neuropsychological tests (Sound-induced flash illusion and CANTAB, NART) Provide a sample of blood.

Other: Exploratory brain and general health assessment
Exploratory brain and general health assessment

Retired professional rowers

Rowers will Provide detailed demographic information Provide detailed overall health information Questionnaires Provide information on athlete's playing career; age of debut, career duration, number of seasons participated in. Provide information on concussion history. Be given a general health screen including- heart rate, blood pressure, body composition and height weight ratio.

Perform a battery of neuropsychological tests (Sound-induced flash illusion and CANTAB, NART) Provide a sample of blood.

Other: Exploratory brain and general health assessment
Exploratory brain and general health assessment




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Brain Health Assessment [ Time Frame: 1 hour ]
    Investigating cognitive functioning


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Concussion History Assessment [ Time Frame: 20 minutes ]
    History of concussion/head impact exposure



Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Older Adult
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Male
Gender Based Eligibility:   Yes
Gender Eligibility Description:   Male
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Probability Sample
Study Population
Professional sport athletes with a career in elite rowing or rugby
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

- Male A retired professional rugby player (no age limit), who has played at least one season of professional rugby. A retired international rower (no age limit), who completed and trained full time for at least one season.

Athletes who have given informed consent and are willing to participate in the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

- You have a history of a non-sports related moderate to severe concussion or brain injury (eg a motor vehicle accident) You have had a concussion in the last year. You have had treatment of chemotherapy or radiotherapy in last 12 months. You have a bleeding disorder (will exclude you from blood sampling only).


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Responsible Party: Joice Cunningham, Ms Joice Cunningham (Phd Candidate), University of Dublin, Trinity College
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03544346     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: JCunningham
First Posted: June 1, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: June 1, 2018
Last Verified: May 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No

Keywords provided by Joice Cunningham, University of Dublin, Trinity College:
brain health, professional athlete, retired, neuropsychological assessment