This season, Premier League footballers will be part of a new study on concussion that could lead to a means of pitch-side diagnosis.
The study, carried out by medics from the University of Birmingham, will use samples of saliva from players who have experienced head injuries on the pitch and use them to test against players who haven’t.
It’s thought that the data from this study could lead to the development of a hand-held device which could be used on the sidelines to effectively identify concussion earlier, leading to early and more effective treatments.
This early detection and removal from play would mean that further harm to athletes could be prevented. It’s thought that the technology could be used across all levels of sport.
In youth sport this could mean better protection for young athletes from a lifetime of lasting effects.
Professor Tony Belli, lead of the ‘Birmingham Concussion Test’ described the device:
"There will be a drop of saliva going on a chip and the chip is then inserted into a device, with the results sent to a mobile phone or tablet and the doctor would be able to see and interpret the results, possibly within a minute or two”
This study follows a call on the government from MPs in November to introduce better concussion protocols in sport.
Alongside many other sports organisations, we look forward to seeing the results of this study and the development of new technology.