Tom Owens is in the final year of his PhD into ‘Concussion and the Link to Early Onset Dementia’, working alongside extreme scientist Professor Damian Bailey, a former international sportsman and endurance athlete.
"The aim of my PhD is to establish how concussion influences the brain alongside natural ageing," said Tom, who previously studied the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science.
"We started by collaborating with Cardiff Blues (Welsh regional rugby team) in order to determine what effect concussion had on brain function across one season in their 1st team squad.
"We then formed a study investigating how life-long exposure to concussion effects brain function in retired rugby players aged 60-80 years.
"We are still analysing the data, although we have determined that those who experience concussion have subtle impairments during cognitive tasks, despite no changes to brain structure.
"This research has a world-wide scope in raising awareness and developing our understanding of concussion in sport.
"For me, it’s incredibly satisfying research to be involved in.
"I get to achieve a doctorate degree in one of the most important fields of sports medicine alongside helping athletes to respect and protect their brains."