The federal government has provided funding to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to establish a concussion and brain health initiative in conjunction with medical professionals and researchers from the University of Newcastle and the University of Canberra.
In a statement announcing the $340,000 study on Friday, health minister Greg Hunt said in a statement that the government intended to ensure that all Australians could participate in sports without jeopardizing their long-term brain health.
“While the condition is not always linked to playing a sport, there have been growing worries regarding the long-term implications of numerous concussions,” Hunt said, noting that 700,000 individuals in Australia had a brain injury that disrupted their daily lives.
This financing is in addition to money made available through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) through a program known as the traumatic brain injury mission, which has committed $50 million over ten years for research to improve the lives of people living with brain injuries.
The mission awarded $5.7 million in funding to three major research projects last year to examine better identification and care of brain injuries. In addition, a new round of research proposals is being accepted for $4 million in grants to fund initiatives that will provide novel ways for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sports-related concussions.
Researchers will study the brain health of retired elite-level athletes as part of the new AIS initiative unveiled this week. The health minister also paid tribute to the late Shane Tuck’s family, stating that the footballer’s untimely death in his late 30s had ‘helped to jumpstart a national discourse on brain damage in sport.’
The ‘important work on the concussion and brain initiative, according to sports minister Richard Colbeck, will begin in 2021 and be completed within three years. “By working with medical specialists, researchers, and players, we will be able to better understand the impacts of concussions and try to avoid brain injuries for current and future athletes,” Colbeck said.
Coade, M. (2021, October 10). Government Backs Study Into Brain Health. The Mandarin.