INTRODUCTION: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a complex injury with heterogeneous physical, cognitive, emotional and functional outcomes. Many who sustain mTBI recover within 2 weeks of injury; however, approximately 10%-20% of individuals experience mTBI symptoms beyond this 'typical' recovery timeframe, known as persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS). Despite increasing interest in PPCS, uncertainty remains regarding its prevalence in community-based populations and the extent to which poor recovery may be identified using early predictive markers.
OBJECTIVE: (1) Establish a research dataset of people who have experienced mTBI and document their recovery trajectories; (2) Evaluate a broad range of novel and established prognostic factors for inclusion in a predictive model for PPCS.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The Concussion Recovery Study (CREST) is a prospective, longitudinal observational cohort study conducted in Perth, Western Australia. CREST is recruiting adults aged 18-65 from medical and community-based settings with acute diagnosis of mTBI. CREST will create a state-wide research dataset of mTBI cases, with data being collected in two phases. Phase I collates data on demographics, medical background, lifestyle habits, nature of injury and acute mTBI symptomatology. In Phase II, participants undergo neuropsychological evaluation, exercise tolerance and vestibular/ocular motor screening, MRI, quantitative electroencephalography and blood-based biomarker assessment. Follow-up is conducted via telephone interview at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after injury. Primary outcome measures are presence of PPCS and quality of life, as measured by the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale and the Quality of Life after Brain Injury questionnaires, respectively. Multivariate modelling will examine the prognostic value of promising factors.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Human Research Ethics Committees of Royal Perth Hospital (#RGS0000003024), Curtin University (HRE2019-0209), Ramsay Health Care (#2009) and St John of God Health Care (#1628) have approved this study protocol. Findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at scientific conferences.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12619001226190.