Led by Dr. Frederick Rivara, a world-renowned expert in pediatric injury research, the Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaborative was formed to improve our understanding of youth concussion and find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat it.

Our researchers contributed to a 2014 Institute of Medicine report that identified important gaps in knowledge about youth concussion:

  • How concussions impact adults may not apply to children and youths because their developing brains are uniquely vulnerable.
  • Accurate information is lacking on how often concussion occurs among youths in general or among youths involved in sports.
  • The biomechanics of the frequency, magnitude and repetition of head impacts that cause concussion are not well understood, making it harder to develop prevention strategies.
  • There is no objective way to determine whether someone has suffered a concussion.
  • When people have persistent concussion symptoms, there are no evidence-based treatments to prevent or reduce those symptoms.
  • The association between single or multiple concussive hits and short-term or long-term outcomes among youth remains unclear.

Our studies will address these gaps by conducting research in three areas:

Epidemiology and Prevention: We will study how frequently concussion occurs, identify the factors that put youth at risk for concussion and evaluate strategies to prevent concussion.

Pathophysiology: We will study the biomechanics of head acceleration that leads to concussion and sub-concussive impacts, and develop and evaluate tools to diagnose concussions and measure their short- and long-term effects. We will use sophisticated imaging and biomarkers to examine the pathophysiology and natural history of concussion.

Treatment: We will use clinical studies to evaluate innovative treatments designed to improve outcomes among youth with acute and persistent post-concussive symptoms.