Marketing Begins for FDA-issued Blood Test to Detect Concussion

What does this mean for the National Football League and football?

Marketing has begun for a new test to determine concussion, issued by the FDA.  Via samples of blood, it is now possible to detect brain trauma through the protein levels of UCH-L1 and GFAP, released into the bloodstream by the brain.  Traditional medical practices typically involve a CT scan, but the procedure doesn’t always detect intracranial lesions.  Hence, the test would not only prove more effective in identifying traumas but also be a substitute to radiation exposure via typical medical technique.

Football and Concussion

Football is one of the most significant contributors to concussion.  A January poll commissioned by the NFL revealed a 13.5 percent increase in concussion in the preseason and regular season playoffs between 2016 and 2017.  A posthumous study reported by JAMA revealed 177 out of 202 brains belonging to former football players displayed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease that degenerates brain tissue after repeated trauma.

Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health in a press statement,

“A blood test to aid in concussion evaluation is an important tool for the American public and for our service members abroad who need access to quick and accurate tests.”

The question as it relates to football is whether or not the NFL will be open to taking on this new procedure.  In spite of contemporary million-dollar donations to the cause, they continue to clash with the scientific community – a particularly potent example being their disentangling from a partnership with the National Institute of Health, resulting in 15 million dollars being unspent.  It’s also no secret they refused to acknowledge the chronic disease up until as recently as 2009. Ultimately it remains to be seen whether or not this revolutionary medical procedure will have an impact on one of the biggest breeding grounds for excess brain trauma.

Tara Rabin and related departments at the FDA declined to comment but forwarded us to Banyan Biomarkers, the pharmaceutical company who developed the test. At the time of publishing, Banyan Biomarkers could not be reached. Updates will be provided should this change.


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