Blood Test Could Detect Brain Damage in Active Athletes, University of Rochester Study  
3/8/2013 7:39:44 AM

While the central focus of brain injury in football has rested squarely on concussions, a burgeoning body of scientific work suggests that the repetitive, sub-concussive hits that occur every play may be at least as deleterious to the brains of players. Increasing the insidiousness of the problem, that damage has been maddeningly difficult to detect until a former football player displays severe behavioral and neurocognitive impairments, or dies and has his brain dissected. A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE adds new evidence highlighting the importance of sub-concussive hits, and could help lead to a quick and cheap blood test to check for signs of damage in active players. The study, led by Jeffrey J. Bazarian of the University of Rochester and Nicola Marchi and Damir Janigro of the Cleveland Clinic, found that college football players who took more shots to the head in games had higher levels in their blood streams of a particular protein that is indicative of brain injury.