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Study Shows Blood Test Could Help Diagnose Concussions

DAVIS (CBS13) — Concussions are a hot button issue in all levels of sports, and there could soon be a way to test for the potentially devastating head injuries.

Members of the UC Davis women's water polo team have plenty of war stories. With balls flying at 35 mph, some of those stories involve concussions.

"A girl shot the ball, missed the cage, so it wasn't that good of a shot, and just nailed me in the head," said Samantha Murphy.

For head coach Jamey Wright, players' safety comes before performance. But with players begging to get back in the game, it's tough.

"If they get hit, you almost don't even ask them how they are, just go talk to the trainer," he said.

Right now, many medical personnel rely on reaction tests to see if a person has a concussion.

"Everybody is now required to do a baseline testing before the season starts," said Wright.

But now Swedish researchers say they've come up with a blood test to confirm concussions.

The test measures a protein in your blood that's released when your brain is injured. The researchers can also predict when concussion symptoms like dizziness, nausea and headaches will disappear, allowing athletes to safely get back in the game.

"I think it would be awesome, because a lot of time, it is hard to tell," Murphy said.

With concussions at the forefront of athlete safety issues, this research could be a game changer.

The Swedish study was very small, and bigger studies need to be done. It could be a couple of years before we see doctors using this test.

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