Researchers at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have partnered with the Louisiana Ice Gators to focus on collecting data about concussions in hockey.
According to a release from the university, Dr. Randy Aldret, director for UL Lafayette’s athletic training program and an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology, will lead the a study on concussions and hockey with his wife, an IceGators team physician, Dr. Stephanie Aldret.
The severity of concussions, which the Mayo Clinic defines as a traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions, can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms- headaches, nausea, dizziness, light sensitivity, altered sleep patterns, blurred vision, seizures, memory loss, impaired motor skills, trouble concentrating, and personality changes-can vary greatly from person to person and injury to injury.
The study will examine physiology and neurocognitive function in more than 20 IceGators. The players have agreed to be evaluated before, during, and after the season, which began in October and ends in April.
The study will measure a range of factors, including cognition, balance, and sleep patterns, with a battery of established tests, including MRIs. Players also will submit blood samples, since levels of certain proteins in the blood are elevated with a brain injury.
The hope is to add to a growing body of knowledge about head injuries that could assist in prevention, and acute and long-term care for athletes and the general population.
Stephanie Aldret said even for players who don’t suffer a concussion, the research will provide a framework for potential determinations about repeated “micro traumas” experienced by athletes throughout a season.
“We don’t know exactly what the repetitive small traumas cause, what the longer lasting effect is,” she explained.