Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaborative

NIH Awards $10-Million Grant to Consortium Researching Concussions in School-Aged Children

September 2021 – The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has awarded a $10-million grant to the Four Corners Youth Consortium, a group of institutions researching concussions in children aged 11 to 17. The grant was announced on Sept. 9.

The project, known as Concussion Assessment, Research and Education for Kids (CARE4KIDS), will study biological markers—such as advanced neuroimaging of the brain, blood tests and changes in blood pressure and heart rate—that could predict which children will develop persistent symptoms following concussion. Investigators hope this research will lead to improvements in the prevention and treatment of concussions in children. 

Participating institutions include Seattle Children’s, the University of Washington School of Medicine, UCLA, Children’s National Hospital, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Wake Forest University, University of Rochester and the data coordinating center at the University of Utah.  

The five-year study will be led by Dr. Frederick Rivara at Seattle Children’s Center for Child Health,

Behavior and Development and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Chris Giza at UCLA and Dr. Gerard Gioia at Children’s National. In Seattle, the principal investigators will be Dr. Sara Chrisman at Seattle Children’s and associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Dr. Christine Mac Donald, professor of neurological surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

“Seattle Children’s research is on the cutting edge of understanding youth concussion and how to develop prevention and treatment options,” said Rivara. “This is an important grant from the NIH. It will help us advance our knowledge in this field and potentially lead to earlier interventions.”

The concussion work grew out of a generous grant from the Satterberg Foundation to Seattle Children’s Research Institute for research on youth concussions and an investment from the Sports Institute at UW Medicine, directed by Dr. Samual Browd.

Nationally, the project will involve more than 1,300 children. In the Seattle region, approximately 120 children will participate in the study. The study will be conducted in two phases. The first part will aim to develop a set of candidate biomarkers predictive of persistent post-concussion symptoms. The second stage will test those biomarkers with a new group of children with concussion with the goal of developing a practical clinical algorithm to be used in general clinical practice.

Concussions affect nearly 3 million Americans annually, with up to 30% not recovered three months after injury, and the risk for adolescents is even greater. Persistent, post-concussive impairments such as migraine headaches, cognitive problems, abnormal stress responses and mood dysregulation are common.