Almost one million patients a year are diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion in UK A&E Departments. The most common cause is involvement in a road traffic collision and the third most common is sports participation. Concussion is becoming increasingly common in motorsport, where concussed competitors may remain in control of a potentially-lethal vehicle. Concussion causes a variety of symptoms including headache, visual disturbance and memory/concentration problems. It is currently diagnosed by clinical assessment but this is difficult; symptoms can be caused by other conditions and there is no diagnostic test (blood or scan) that gives an answer.
RESCUE-RACER investigates concussed motorsports participants by assessing symptoms, tests of vision, thinking/memory and brain imaging, as well as analysis of saliva. Participants are assessed at baseline (CArBON) and post-injury (CARS). Where possible, CARS assessments will be completed immediately after the injury, and acutely as the driver recovers. Where available, we will also analyse head impact data from in-car technology.
Eligible CArBON participants will be competitive motorsports drivers in the TOCA series, a UK motorsports package which includes six semi/professional race series. Eligible CARS participants will have experienced a potentially concussive event during motorsport activity, referred from TOCA or Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.
In the short-term, a new diagnostic tool will be trialled to assess its accuracy and cost effectiveness for identifying motorsport concussion . The long-term results of RESCUE-RACER will be used to predict the recovery rate from concussion , to create guidelines for return to race decisions and to translate findings to general road use and sport.