The saliva test, described by academics as a “game changer” to detect rugby players’ concussions, will be presented to the sporting authority next week, and I hope it can eventually be used to diagnose head injuries in all sports.
In a study conducted by the University of Birmingham in England, in collaboration with the English rugby authorities, researchers took saliva samples from 156 players who had a head injury assessment during the matches of the top two divisions in England in the 2017-18 և 2018-19 seasons.
Using biomarkers in saliva, the researchers developed a test that can successfully predict the outcome of HIA in 94% of cases.
The team now aims to collect further samples from players in two elite men’s rugby competitions to provide additional information to expand the test. It will first be presented at the World Rugby Player Welfare Symposium.
“This study, its rigor, the results show the value in a purposeful, scientific approach, reflect the progressive rugby commitment to the player’s well-being,” said Dr. Na Anna Falway, Chief Medical Officer of World Rugby. :
The English Premier League, which oversees the Rugby Division, has stated that it is ready to support the next round of research in the 2021-22 season.
“A non-invasive saliva test is an invaluable tool in providing a valuable tool for doctors to help diagnose concussions more accurately,” said Dr. Valentina Di Pietro, of the University of Birmingham. leading role in the study.
“In professional sports, this diagnostic tool can be used in addition to current head injury assessment protocols և back to game assessment to ensure the safety of individuals.”
Earlier, the team found that the concentration of specific molecules in saliva changed rapidly after a traumatic brain injury.
The researchers say the test could eventually be used outside of the sports world, for example, in “military-medical settings,” said Antonio Belli, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Birmingham.
“Differences in salivary gland concentrations in these biomarkers can be measured within minutes of injury, which means we can diagnose quickly,” Bell said.
Additional studies are being conducted to extend the test to young women athletes.
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