Looking for Answers

June 29, 2018

Research has shown that subconcussive head impacts can cause neurophysical and neuropsychological changes in athletes. However, due to the absence of symptoms with a subconcussive hit, it’s hard to know when an athlete should be removed from competition because of it. According to an article for ScienceDaily, Jonathan Oliver, PhD, and a team of researchers set out to determine whether blood-based biomarker could change that.

“Given recent findings indicating a potential link between repetitive subconcussive impacts and the development of [chronic traumatic encephalopathy], efforts to determine the effect of subconcussive impacts throughout an athlete’s career may prove useful, especially if those efforts are feasible and cost effective,” said Dr. Oliver, who is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Director of The Sport Science Center at Texas Christian University.

To do this, Dr. Oliver and researchers from The Sport Science Center at TCU, Texas Health Sports Medicine, and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse engaged in a study to identify and monitor the accumulation of subconcussive head impacts. Published by the Journal of Neurosurgery, this study focused on two biomarkers of head trauma and brain injury—the tau protein and neurofilament light polypeptide (NF-L). The investigation began with taking seven blood samples from 35 NCAA football players—20 starters and 15 nonstarters—over the course of the season. The tests were taken before the beginning of fall camp and three weeks before the season ended. During the season, they were taken 36 to 72 hours after a game or practice session.

Once the tests were taken, researchers examined any variations in plasma concentration of tau and serum concentrations of NF-L with the nonstarters serving as the control group. When it came to the tau concentration, researchers found that this number decreased over the season for both starters and nonstarters. However, due to the miniscule differences in concentration between the groups, it was found that tau protein would not be a good indicator of injury from subconcussive head impacts.

In the case of NF-L concentration, both groups saw an increase during the competitive season compared to their preseason numbers. Even though both groups experienced an increase, starters saw higher spikes at multiple points, while nonstarters had less significant increases. With this data, researchers showed that NF-L concentration during periods of repetitive head impact had fair-to-modest accuracy when differentiating between starters and nonstarters.

Overall, researchers found that NF-L could be a reliable biomarker for brain injury caused by repetitive subconcussive head impacts. But they also noted that this was only a preliminary study. In order to receive more conclusive results, they recommend performing a larger study.

 

 

 
 

 

SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

The Evolution of the Lifting Platform

The days of the above ground weightlifting platform may be a thing of the past. More and more high schools, colleges, and professional strength and conditioning facilities who are either building a new facility or renovating an existing facility are going away from the traditional above ground lifting platform and choosing the inlaid platform, which … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Teaching Principles: Neck Rotation

Coach Bill ‘Jake’ Jacobs goes back to the basic teaching principles with Neck Rotation. View his demonstration.  CLICK TO READ MORE...

RP Sports: Revolutionary Sports Technologies

RP Sport’s goal is to provide elite athletes with the most innovative sports technologies that push you past the peak of physical limits and into the future of athletic performance. Working  with ATs,  pro teams, elite athletes, physio therapists and more, RP takes pride in offering only the most safe & effective recovery, performance, rehab … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Firstbeat readies sleep-monitoring system

A lot of attention is being paid to recovery in athletes as part of efforts to help them reach their optimal performance. Much of this attention has focused on training loads, with numerous systems being developed to track this data. Now, attention is turning to the importance of sleep. As explained in a blog on … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Research Supports Use of Sway Medical Balance Assessment

A study involving 184 Division II male and female student-athletes concludes that the accessibility and ease of use of Sway Medical’s Concussion Management System Application makes it an effective and affordable tool for balance and postural stability assessments. “In today’s society, electronic devices are widely used, and the SMBA (Sway Medical Balance Application) is easily … CLICK TO READ MORE...

VIEW MORE ARTICLES

Stay at the Top of Your Game!
x
Receive articles like this by signing up for our newsletters