Recent Study Finds Brain Protein Predicts Concussion Recovery Time

February 07, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The January 6, 2017 issue of the Neurology journal from the American Academy of Neurology released an interesting paper which found that the presence of the brain protein tau can be measured in the blood of athletes to help determine if players are ready to return to the game. This has been an ongoing bone of contention between players, coaches, trainers, and owners in pro sport, and between players, coaches, and parents in amateur sport. Since there is no current test for readiness to return to play that is medically based many competing pressures are placed on the decision makers.

According to the paper there are over 3.8 million sport related concussions annually in America. It’s estimated that there is a similar level of concussion in sport here based on population. The problem is serious enough that the Canadian Government has stepped in to take action.

The problem to date is that there is no objective tool that allows us to measure when or if an athlete is ready to resume play. The dangers here are high as returning to play too early poses huge risks of subsequent concussions an lasting brain damage occurring. Currently there is a series of standardized cognitive tests, and an assessment of self reported symptoms that are used to establish readiness to play.

Researches examined athletes from football, basketball, soccer, hockey and lacrosse and placed them into two groups based on their recovery time from concussion - the long (>10 days) and the short (<10 days) return to play groups. What they found was that those players who took longer to return to play had higher levels of tau in the blood 6 hours post-concussion than the short return to play group did.  The results of the research suggest that tau may be a useful blood marker to help identify individuals who take longer to recover form concussion. Given athletes are generally eager to return to play as soon as possible, and often before it’s recommended, the test can be a useful measure to protect players from going back too soon.



Posted under Brain Injury, Catastrophic Injury, Concussion Syndrome

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