Wimbledon Clinics

Wimbledon Clinics

Biomarkers Can Inform Return-To-Play Decisions For Concussed Athletes

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Participants in contact sports such as football, boxing and ice hockey are at high risk of suffering concussion. A proper diagnosis followed by a reliable return-to-play decision is extremely important to ensure that athletes do not risk permanent brain injury by sustaining new concussions before full recovery. According to the findings of a Swedish study, certain biomarkers can serve as the basis for developing clinical tools that make it possible to predict when athletes can safely return to play.

The study in question involved 288 Swedish Hockey League players, with observation taking place during the 2012/2013 season. Within that group, 35 players suffered a concussion during the season and 28 of them provided blood samples multiple times after the injury and after their return to play.

The analysis established that concussed players had elevated levels of total tau (T-tau) and S-100 calcium-binding protein B. The concentration of these proteins was highest in the first hour after injury but levels were still elevated six days later when compared to results obtained before the start of the season.

The Swedish research team concluded that T-tau blood tests could serve as a reliable diagnostic tool in cases of concussion and enable informed decisions with regard to safe play resumption. The findings of their study have been published in the JAMA Neurology journal.

Mild traumatic brain injury, as concussion is sometimes referred to, can have severe consequences if it is frequently experienced. If athletes are not properly diagnosed and allowed to recover in full before returning to play, they run the risk of developing chronic brain damage.