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BRain health and healthy AgeINg in retired rugby union players, the BRAIN Study: study protocol for an observational study in the UK

Gallo, V; McElvenny, D; Hobbs, C; Davoren, D; Morris, H; Crutch, S; Zetterberg, H; ... Pearce, N; + view all (2017) BRain health and healthy AgeINg in retired rugby union players, the BRAIN Study: study protocol for an observational study in the UK. BMJ Open , 7 (12) , Article e017990. 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017990. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Relatively little is known about the long-term health of former elite rugby players, or former sportspeople more generally. As well as the potential benefits of being former elite sportspersons, there may be potential health risks from exposures occurring during an individual's playing career, as well as following retirement. Each contact sport has vastly different playing dynamics, therefore exposing its players to different types of potential traumas. Current evidence suggests that these are not necessarily comparable in terms of pathophysiology, and their potential long-term adverse effects might also differ. There is currently limited but increasing evidence that poorer age-related and neurological health exists among former professional sportsmen exposed to repetitive concussions; however the evidence is limited on rugby union players, specifically. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We present the protocol for a cross-sectional study to assess the association between self-reported history of concussion during a playing career, and subsequent measures of healthy ageing and neurological and cognitive impairment. We are recruiting a sample of approximately 200 retired rugby players (former Oxford and Cambridge University rugby players and members of the England Rugby International Club) aged 50 years or more, and collecting a number of general and neurological health-related outcome measures though validated assessments. Biomarkers of neurodegeneration (neurofilaments and tau) will be also be measured. Although the study is focusing on rugby union players specifically, the general study design and the methods for assessing neurological health are likely to be relevant to other studies of former elite sportspersons. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study has been approved by the Ethical Committee of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (reference: 11634-2). It is intended that results of this study will be published in peer-reviewed medical journals, communicated to participants, the general public and all relevant stakeholders.

Type: Article
Title: BRain health and healthy AgeINg in retired rugby union players, the BRAIN Study: study protocol for an observational study in the UK
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017990
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017990
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: cognitive function, concussion, cross-sectional study, healthy ageing, rugby, rugby union
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10041143
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