By Ken Reed

A new blood test which has the potential to quickly diagnose concussions at sporting events and elsewhere has gained FDA approval.

The new blood test is designed to detect two proteins released into the blood when someone suffers a concussion. Of note, it can rule out a concussion 95.6% of the time, according to Abbott, the developer of the test.

The approval of this blood test is great news when it comes to identifying serious brain injuries in the world of sports.

Pittsburgh Steelers team neurologist, Dr. David Okonkwo, was part of the development team for the test. He believes it can be used during NFL games and other sporting events after additional research on athletes.

“The nature of the studies performed to gain FDA clearance for these tests were done in patients brought to level one trauma centers,” according to Okonkwo. “We have every reason to believe there is significant overlap with the injuries to athletes who sustain a concussion, but we need to do studies specifically in that patient population to confirm that use.”

The test is currently approved for use in adults 18 and over. However, additional research on the test is underway for young people under the age of 18. If the test gains FDA approval for children under 18, it could potentially identify approximately 2.3 million concussions or brain injuries in the youth population, based on 2022 data.

The test is expected to be available in emergency rooms and urgent care centers this summer.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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