Groundbreaking New Measures Introduced To Combat Concussion In Rugby

Premiership and Championship players will take part this season in the development of a new pitch-side test to better diagnose concussion and brain injuries.

Saliva and urine samples will be collected during the season after studies showed they could provide swift indicators of head injuries. It could lead to a handheld device to assess if a player is fit to play on.

Any players this season with confirmed or suspected concussion will provide saliva samples immediately following the injury and will give follow-up samples as they go through the return-to-play protocol. These will be compared to players from the same game who did not suffer head injuries and those who had other injuries.

Neurosurgeon Professor Tony Belli, who is leading the study, said:

“The University of Birmingham recently made a significant breakthrough after identifying molecules, which can be found in saliva and act as biomarkers to indicate whether the brain has suffered injury.
“If these biomarkers are found reliable, we can continue our work with industrial partners with the hope to have a device available within the next two years that will instantaneously diagnose concussion on the pitch-side with the same accuracy as in the laboratory – a major step forward for both sport and medicine.”

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