Hockeyplayers is a category often suffer from concussions and favored by the researchers new method to diagnose. Photo iStock

New ways to deal with concussions

Published: 13 March 2014

Researchers at Luleå University of Technology and the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, has found a new method to diagnose concussions. As early as one hour after the injury, a blood test can find out how severe it is and whether there is a risk of long-term symptoms.

Professor Yelverton Tegnert Luleå University of Technology
Yelverton Tegnert, professor at Luleå University of Technology has long conducted research on concussions in sports. Foto Erica Lång

We think this is going to be very significant, says Yelverton Tegner, professor of sports medicine at Luleå University.

The research findings are based on surveys of players in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) who suffered concussions. Analyses of blood from the players show that elevated levels of a neuronal protein, called tau, is a marker of brain injury.

We need a bit more data, but our goal is to have a working kit that can be used for diagnostics in hospitals, and perhaps also at rink side in stadiums immediately when someone got a concussion, he says.

Yelverton Tegner's doctor for Swedish women's national football team, and previously was Lulea Hockey doctor. He has long conducted research on concussions in sports.

-The project idea originally comes from me. That we managed to find a method of diagnosis is the fruit of collaboration with the Sahlgrenska Academy who has extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to analyzing these specific albuminoid substances (proteins), says Yelverton Tegner.

The goal of the unique research study has been to find safer methods to diagnose sports-related brain injuries, and to get a better basis for decision when the player can come back in games.

But the method can be used for all concussions, not only in sports, said Yelverton Tegner.

Text; Per Vallgårda