Professor’s Childhood Concussion Research Recognized Internationally

Professor’s Childhood Concussion Research Recognized Internationally

Karin Reuter-Rice, PhD, CPNP-AC, FCCM, FAAN, is working to improve diagnosis and treatment of children with traumatic brain injuries.


Concussions occur at an alarming rate among U.S. schoolchildren, with one in five experiencing a concussion by age 16. Compared with adults, children experience longer and more severe post-concussive symptoms, which may go unrecognized or untreated and can impact their quality of life and ability to learn and play.  

Karin Reuter-Rice, Ph.D., CPNP-AC, FCCM, FAAN, is working to improve diagnosis and treatment of children with brain injuries. She is an associate professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, School of Medicine and the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. She is also faculty in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care. 

“I examine the impact of a head injury, also called a traumatic brain injury, on the effects on mental and physical function,” she said. “My goal is to use clinical features, bio-behavioral responses and biologic samples to develop an evidence-based concussion risk identification model so that health care providers can expedite the identification of and treatment for children and adolescents with concussion.” 

That would also allow for the development and testing of targeted clinical therapies and school-based interventions that can improve children’s health and academic outcomes. 

Reuter-Rice’s research findings have been published and presented internationally. Last year, she and her team received a $3 million award from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a longitudinal multi-center study that tracks the trajectories of post-concussive symptoms in 500 children in the critical first year after their concussions.  

She serves as the co-chair of the North Carolina Brain Injury Advisory Council’s Children and Youth Committee, whose goal is to support those diagnosed with TBI for statewide care and address prevention startegies. She is also a co-author on the 3rd edition of the “Guidelines for the Management of Pediatric Severe Traumatic Brain Injury” and the practice recommendations for “Transcranial Doppler Ultrasonography in Critically Ill Children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: A Multidisciplinary Expert Consensus Statement.” 

“Children and adolescents who experience a concussion are highly vulnerable for disparate health and social outcomes when their post-concussion symptoms are unrecognized or untreated,” Reuter-Rice said. “As a nurse scientist and clinical expert, I think nurses are in an exceptional position to drive science and practice in the direction of novel diagnostics and treatment approaches that improved health and wellbeing of children with concussions.” 


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