Mon. May 16th, 2022

PA Sports

A saliva test designed to diagnose concussion is set to be trialled in the Premier League as football authorities agree to action plan on brain health.

A joint action plan on brain health published by the league, along with the Football Association, the EFL and the Professional Footballers’ Association, sets out details of work being done to protect current footballers from concussion and sub-concussive impacts, and to understand why there is an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease among professional footballers compared to the general population.

It confirms the Premier League is funding an academic study to validate a diagnostic tool that uses salivary biomarkers, and it is understood the trial could begin later this season.

Players will provide baseline swabs, then at three further time points following a concussive injury, the plan said. Comparative swabs will be taken from an uninjured player and another player who has suffered a musculoskeletal injury in the same match or training session.

The plan states: “The first phase of this research will be carried out over a three-year period, with interim and final results reviewed jointly by the football stakeholders to inform future concussion protocols.”

It follows the publication of the SCRUM study findings in March, which showed a saliva biomarker tool was able to accurately detect concussion in elite male rugby players.

That study, led by academics at the University of Birmingham, successfully predicted the outcome of head injury assessments (HIAs) in 94 per cent of cases during testing in the 2018-19 Premiership and Championship season.

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is a soccer lover and writer. He is a graduate of Biological Sciences, presently teaching in a secondary in Lagos.

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