Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a blood test – called the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator – that is able to detect and help to identify possible brain injuries quicker.
To quote the New York Times, here’s how the current test works:
The test works by measuring the levels of proteins, known as UCH-L1, and GFAP, that are released from the brain into blood and measured within 12 hours of the head injury. Levels of these blood proteins can help predict which patients may have intracranial lesions visible by a CT scan, and which won’t. In a statement announcing the approval, the FDA said that the brain trauma indicator was able to predict the presence of intracranial lesions on a CT scan 97.5 percent of the time, and those who did not have such lesions 99.6% of the time.
It’s important to note that as of right now, the FDA has approved the test for use only in adults, but clinical trials involving injured children are planned for the near future.
The article also notes that a smaller devices are in the works, as well as a handheld version that would be a great fit to use on the sidelines.
Regardless of resources, properly diagnosing head injuries is something that we all can get on board with. It’s worth pointing out that, as coaches, we’re still conciously doing everything that we can to provide a safer game. With that said, this move by researchers and the FDA is certainly a step in the right direction that could have an impact on all of us as coaches.