By Adam Roberts – 3/24/2021
In the last 15 years, the issue of concussions in sports, particularly in football among young athletes, has resulted in continuing advancements in studies on the injury. However, as someone who has been put through high school concussion protocol at least a couple times in 2009, I know that the system isn’t perfect.
A new study out of England may be the biggest advancement in the field to date.
In what could be a major game changer, scientists now say they can diagnose a concussion through a saliva test. A team of British researchers studied over 150 rugby players at England’s highest level, and compared saliva samples collected before the season with samples collected from players being checked for concussions and other injuries. They found the genetic markers in saliva determined with 94-percent accuracy which players had concussions.
A co-author of the study at the University of Birmingham said it’s now possible to accurately identify concussions in players simply by analyzing their saliva. This would help bypass uncertainties or athletes who might, for any given reason, try to mask the severity of a concussion to return to play.