BRAIN – Brain health & healthy ageing in retired elite rugby players
Principal Investigators: Professor Neil Pearce, Dr Valentina Gallo, Professor Damien McElvenny
Co-Investigators: Dr Simon Kemp, Professor Nigel Arden
Institutions: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, Institute of Occupational Medicine, RFU, University of Oxford
The BRAIN study is working with retired rugby players to uncover associations between a history of concussion and neurodegenerative disease.
Former elite rugby players over the age of 50 will be asked about their concussion history and data will be gathered on quality of life and social circumstances, with an extensive set of tests capturing physical and cognitive capabilities – including grip strength, memory and reasoning – and a neurological clinical examination to look for signs of disease. There will also be face-to-face assessments as well as blood and urine samples taken for future analysis.
We hope this project will help increase our understanding of the long-term effects of rugby and concussion on neurological health.
News and Links:
- Gallo V, McElvenny DM, Seghezzo G et al. Concussion and long-term cognitive function among rugby players—The BRAIN Study. Alzheimers Dement. doi:10.1002/alz.12455 (2021).
- No overall link between concussion, length of career and cognitive function in retired male elite rugby union players aged 50+
- The Drake Foundation urges review into laws of professional era rugby union as study suggests sport may have been safer in the amateur era
- RFU release short film to promote BRAIN Study
- BRAIN Study Protocol Published.
- The Drake Foundation to fund major scientific study examining the possible long-term effects of elite rugby on brain health.
- Video interview – Simon Kemp, RFU Chief Medical Officer discusses Drake Foundation study in retired elite rugby players.
- The BRAIN Study.