Concussion is not just a football problem. Studies have shown soccer players, especially those players who head the ball are at risk for concussion along with bike riders and those in water sports, like water polo. Dr. David Dodick is a neurologist with the Mayo Clinic. He says the next frontier in concussion research is finding those who are at risk for long term consequences.
“We’re talking about measuring proteins in the blood. Looking at the brain with sophisticated diagnostic imaging,” says Dr. Dodick. “and other advanced diagnostic techniques too, to begin to understand who’s at risk.”
The NCAA and the department of defense are in the midst of a massive study of concussion, called the care consortium. There are 40,000 participants, three thousand concussed patients and the funding for the project is now at 46 million dollars.
“What we stand to learn from this will answer a whole host of questions that we’ve never been able to answer before. But also, tee up questions that we never even knew we had,” says Dr. Dodick.
One tool sports medicine doctors now have is a blood test to confirm concussion. It’s called the banyan brain traumatic indicator. It measures proteins.
“At the cellular level, finding out what’s happening inside the brain during a concussion, what happens inside the brain after repetitive concussions.”
Cat scans and MRI’s are standard diagnostic tools. Many athletic programs are having their athletes take a valid baseline concussion test before they play, to get a picture of the health of the athlete’s brain. The goal is to prevent long term problems.
“If we knew that, we could identify a person who shouldn’t probably go back to playing a collision contact sport because we know that they are at higher risk for suffering long term consequences.”
The Indiana High School Athletic Association has a concussion protocol on it’s website. To see it click on the link below.