The Aldershot resident is a primary care sports medicine specialist at Burlington’s Elliott Sports Medicine Clinic. His research in sport-related traumatic brain injury (concussion) is documented nationally and internationally. In 2011 Dr. Echlin was recognized by The Globe and Mail as the number-one ranked individual of the TOP 50 Sports Power Influencers in Canada.
Dr. Echlin’s resume is indeed remarkable. He completed a Family Medicine residency at Wayne State University and a Sport Medicine Fellowship at Providence Hospital in Michigan; in 2009 Dr. Echlin chaired the Hockey Concussion Summit in London, Ontario; he chaired the Hockey Neurotrauma and Concussion Initiative Research Committee and he currently serves as the Primary Investigator of the Hockey Concussion Education Project.
Over the years traumatic brain injuries (concussions) in athletes – pro and amateur – male and female - have been ignored. But no longer – thanks – in part - to research conducted by Dr. Echlin. It has been proven that repeated concussions may cause acute as well as chronic neurological disorders including prolonged Post-Concussion Syndrome, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) leading to permanent cognitive impairment, erratic behaviour – even dementia. Research has shown that repetitive concussions may also lead to Parkinsonism, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Mental Illness diagnoses – and – on occasion – Suicide.
As Principle Investigator Dr. Echlin’s research has been published in medical journals such as the Journal of Neurosurgery, and in newspapers nationally and globally. He is a compelling keynote speaker and is recognized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as one of their national authorities on concussions. His goal? To educate – to significantly reduce concussions in sport - to enable athletes to live a quality life once their careers have ended.
Dr. Echlin’s published collaborative contributions with Harvard University as well as other national and international partners have provided pioneering empirical evidence concerning the true incidence, as well as the biological cellular origins of sport-related concussions. This profound and innovative research has changed the conventional – old-fashioned – way of thinking about players who have suffered concussions. Dr. Echlin considers brain trauma in sport a Public Health issue in which “the accumulated evidence regarding concussion in youth and children is approaching a more mature level than that of the SARS and Tainted Blood epidemics.”
Dr. Echlin has partnered with the Halton Board of Education to develop the Halton Student Concussion Education Program. He worked with school administrators, teachers, coaches, students, and parents to develop “e-modules” that could be implemented in elementary and secondary schools. The Halton Student Concussion Education Program is believed to be the first of its kind in North America. Recently the Ontario Ministry of Education has included concussion education into the curriculum allowing for a true scientific-based, grassroots, and generational shift in this important Public Health issue. Clearly, Dr. Echlin cares about kids –about their future.