Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 17, 2018 – The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a blood test that has the potential to be used to detect concussions.
The blood test may open another door to help detect traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the Brain Injury Research Institute (BRI), approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million sport and recreation related concussions happen in children, teenagers and adults in the United States. The new blood test could be a helpful tool in detecting TBI earlier.
In professional sports, such as in the National Football League (NFL) alone, players and teams recorded 291 concussions during the 2017 season. Allowing for unconfirmed cases of head trauma, that is a staggering number of head injuries for a league with roughly 1,700 players.
The newly approved blood test may be an accurate tool in determining the presence of concussions versus the usually subjective and often cursory tests used in the field today. Furthermore, according to the Banyon Brain Trauma Indicator (BBTI) the blood test would reduce or even eliminate the need for CT scans. According to the developers of the blood test, the test works by measuring two brain specific protein markers that appear in the blood at higher levels in the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury.
However, medical professionals, who handle patients with concussions regularly, say that the test is not to diagnose concussions, but instead it is another tool to help make decisions whether a patient needs a CT scan or not. Mark Halstead, MD, director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, says that the specific protein markers referenced are “not present in the vast majority of individuals with concussions.”
Despite the fact that the test may not be as comprehensive as it sounds, or as its creators hoped for, it still represents a step forward in the development of technology to detect brain injuries. “It is evident that the concern about traumatic brain injury is slowly, but surely, becoming a part of the national consciousness and people are encouraged by new developments in the field,” said Austin traumatic brain injury attorney, Brooks Schuelke.
It is not uncommon for an NFL team to have a radiologist or neuroradiologist with experience assessing concussions. These professionals walk the sidelines behind both teams watching players. Moreover, in an overhead box, an athletic trainer is watching the field for players that take too long to get back up from a tackle. These extra eyes can call a player off the field for a medical evaluation. While it is progress to have “concussion spotters” on the field, there is still a long way to go to make contact sports safer.
“If you have been injured while playing contact sports, speak to an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney to find out your rights. Your case is thoroughly evaluated and all options open to you are explained in great detail,” added Schuelke.
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