RICHMOND (WRIC) - Concussions are a growing concern in the NFL. Now a Richmond-based company is looking into ways to prevent the long-term damage of head injuries.
Immunearray received a $300,000 grant from the National Football League as the company attempts to develop a test to determine whether or not a player can return to the field after a concussion.
The current protocol following a head injury in an NFL game is an 8-12 minute sideline assessment, where a player's balance, memory and concentration is evaluated. But what if instead, there was a much simpler and more exact method - a blood test.
"We have a license for a broad portfolio of biomarkers that's pieces of protein and other and antigens and antibodies that can be detected in the blood," says ImmunArray Chairman Donna Edmonds .
Most importantly, the test could be administered immediately after a player suffers a head injury.
"We're working in conjunction with other players for both a point of care immediate panel of tests so that you can find out if you can go back to play it will be available on a small handheld device."
What Immunarray hopes to accomplish is to provide more definitive answers to questions that have been largely unanswered so far in the NFL.
"They have not been able to understand with real clarity what the mechanism is that creates difficulty for the longer term and a blood test in conjunction with imaging should be very helpful in understanding how they would change the way they treat train rehab patients."
The hope is that because the test tracks so many markers that can surface at different stages of recovery, concussion treatment can continue years after the initial injury.
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