University of Limerick and UPMC’s Strategic Partnership Aims to Advance Concussion Research

Professor Ian Kenny, UL, John Windle, UPMC, Dr Tom Comyns, UL, Mike Fetterolf, UPMC, Dr John Mulvihill, UL and Professor Giles Warrington, UL Photo: Brian Arthur

The University of Limerick and International Healthcare provider UPMC have joined forces to understand concussions and their treatment better.

The research partnership between the UL-based Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) project and UPMC aims to better our understanding of concussions and their treatment to enhance player health and welfare.

The partnership aims to examine the qualitative symptoms of concussion in amateur rugby, the length of recovery time post-concussion, and the treatment advice given to players, according to the UL website.

This collaboration promises to enhance the health and welfare of athletes and players, making a substantial step forward in this field of research.

The IRIS project, established in 2016, is the first long-term injury surveillance research project that tracks injuries in amateur rugby, aiming to identify trends and improve injury prevention strategies for player welfare.

Photo: @ULLRWolves on X

Ella Morrison, a UL intermediate Rugby player, shared her thoughts on this partnership: “As someone who experienced a debilitating concussion last year, I believe this research will shed light on the impacts of head injuries and their long-lasting symptoms.

“I continue to experience the effects of my concussion, so I wish it was taken more seriously and talked about more.”

The collaboration will include the appointment and total funding of a PhD Scholar who will divide their research time between the Sport and Human Performance Research Centre at UL, directed by Dr Tom Comyns, Professor Ian Kenny, Dr John Mulvhill, and UPMC Pittsburgh.

Internationally renowned experts in sports-related concussions, Dr Michael Collins and Dr Anthony Kontos will guide the research at UPMC Pittsburgh.

This PhD aims to provide a scholar with the opportunity to partake in impactful international research in this field.

According to the UL website, Dr Comyns, Associate Professor and senior lecturer in human movement science at UL’s Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, explained: “This partnership represents a major step forward for the thorough investigation of the treatment and management of concussion and the IRIS team at UL are looking forward to working together with UPMC and Dr Collins and Dr Kontos, who are world leaders in their field.

“It will also result in the establishment of an international collaboration aimed at enhancing player welfare and health.”

IRIS Co-Principal Investigator, Dr Tom Comyns, Strength & Conditioning, IRFU Medical Manager Development Game Dr Caithriona Yeomans, PhD, Doctoral Researcher Patrick Dolan, Doctoral Researcher Lauren Guilfoyle, IRIS Co-Principal Investigator, Professor Ian Kenny, Biomechanics, IRFU Medical Director Dr Rod McLoughlin and Doctoral Researcher Kilian Bibby. Photo: ©INPHO/Ben Brady.

John Windle, General Manager of UPMC Sports Medicine, said: “This collaboration represents a significant step forward in our commitment to advancing the field of sports medicine and improving the lives of athletes at all levels across Ireland.

“By combining existing expertise with the knowledge and resources of the internationally renowned UPMC Concussion Programme, we aim to better understand, prevent, and treat concussions, ultimately making sports safer for everyone across Ireland,” Mr Windle added.

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