Common data elements collected among universities for sport-related concussion studies

Yang, Jingzhen; Peek-Asa, Corinne; Noble, James M.; Torner, James; Schmidt, Paul; Cooper, Martha L.; Big Ten – Ivy League Traumatic Brain Injury Research Collaboration Data Collection Working Group

Universities are increasingly implementing programs to effectively respond to and manage sport-related concussions (SRCs). One such effort is to develop common data elements (CDEs) and standardize data collection methods. The objectives of this study were to describe CDEs currently collected by Big Ten and Ivy League universities for SRC studies, and to compare the data collected with the core CDEs recommended by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

We conducted an anonymous cross-sectional online survey among medical staff at the 14 Big Ten and 8 Ivy League universities (one per university) between September and October 2015. The survey instrument, including 9 questions corresponding to the concussion data collected before, during, and after a concussion, was developed and pilot-tested before field use. We analyzed patterns of the concussion CDEs being collected, including when, what, and how the data were collected and stored, and compared them with the NINDS' recommended core CDEs.

A total of 19 out of 22 universities were included, with 13 from Big Ten and 6 from Ivy-League universities. All 19 participating universities currently collected concussion data with athletes before, during, and after a concussion. Great similarities in data collection were observed at baseline and acutely post-concussion across participating universities. All 19 universities collected at least one of the ten recommended acute symptoms checklists, and 18 universities collected one of the four recommended core neuropsychological function cognitive measures. However, CDEs in the sub-acute and chronic timeframes were limited, with only 9 (47%) universities collecting post-concussion short to long term outcome data. While over 60% of universities collected and stored concussion data electronically, only 17% to 42% of data collected were readily available for research.

Significant inter-institutional similarities in acute concussion CDEs were found. Further efforts should focus on collecting sub-acute and chronic timeframe core CDEs and creating data access protocols to facilitate evidence-based concussion prevention and treatment for all collegiate athletes.


  • thumnail for 40621_2018_Article_132.pdf 40621_2018_Article_132.pdf application/pdf 804 KB Download File

Also Published In

Injury Epidemiology

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
March 15, 2018


College sports, Common data element, Concussion