A research study published in JAMA Network open identified blood biomarkers that could help to predict need for additional time to recover from a sports-related concussion.
Using an ultrasensitive assay that can detect minute amounts of protein in serum, researchers found that tau protein and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) levels — positively correlated with the length of time that the athletes needed to return to play.
In the study, 127 male and female collegiate athletes who sustained a concussion were tested at several time points: shortly after injury; when their symptoms resolved; and 1 week after returning to play. Each athlete had undergone preseason baseline testing.
The varied amounts of the 2 proteins were significantly different in athletes who needed less or more than 14 days to return. Although further research is needed, the results of this study are an important step towards developing a test that could help predict which athletes need more time to recover from a concussion and resume activity.
Peter McAllister, MD
James Geyer, MD, and Paul Cox
Jason A. Ellis, MD; Benjamin W. Y. Lo, MD; Chirag G. Bhatia, BS; Yona Feit; Steven Mandel, MD; and Dana Shani, MD