Concussion in sport: an interview with Michael Turner (ICHIRF)

Written by Lauren Pulling

In anticipation of the upcoming 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport, to be held in Berlin, Germany on 27–28 October 2016, we sat down with Michael Turner, Medical Director of the International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation (ICHIRF; London, UK).
ICHIRF is a UK-based initiative, set up with the intention of carrying out in-depth research, looking at the long-term effects of concussion on retired sportsmen and sportswoman who have competed in contact sports. ICHIRF recently launched the Concussion in Sport study – this ground-breaking project seeks to establish whether retired sportsmen and sportswomen have an increased incidence, or suffer an earlier onset, of neurodegenerative disorders later in life due to multiple concussions.

In this interview, Dr Turner discusses the project, as well as the current issues facing the field and his expectations for the upcoming Berlin meeting.
00.17 – This year saw the launch of the Concussion in Sport study – could you outline this project?

01.28 – What makes this study so significant? Have you had a good response to the call for volunteers?

03.21 – Why is there this difference in instances of concussion between men and women?

04.50 – At present, there is no approved method for definitive diagnosis of CTE in living patients – could the study provide new insight into the condition?

06.55 – More broadly, as we approach discussion of an updated consensus statement at the 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin, how far has the field come since the release of the previous paper in 2013?

13.51 – And finally, where do you hope the field of concussion and TBI in sport will be in 5–10 years’ time?
Get involved:
ICHIRF’s research looks to recruit volunteers from all contact sports, as well as individuals who have never been concussed who will act as the control group, to participate in the project.

Retired sportsmen and women from all contact sports can enrol in the research and ICHIRF is also appealing to members of the public who have never had a concussion to contribute to the study as the ‘control group’. These volunteers will enable a direct comparison to be made with the ‘concussed group’.

To participate volunteers are simply requested to indicate an interest by completing a brief registration form at the Concussion in Sport website ( Once this has been logged, the individual will be offered the opportunity to complete an online questionnaire on an annual basis.

From the volunteers who complete the online questionnaire, a number will be invited to attend for detailed medical screening in London. This will involve MRI scanning, blood tests, neuropsychological screening and a review by a number of different medical experts. The costs for screening will be covered by ICHIRF and the project will continue to monitor the progress of all the participants (questionnaire only and screened individuals) over subsequent years.

To find out more please visit the ICHIRF website, or email [email protected]

You can also find out more about ICHIRF on our Partners page.