New study aims to take guesswork out of diagnosing concussions - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New study aims to take guesswork out of diagnosing concussions

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A team at one local university is hoping to take the subjectivity out of diagnosing concussions.

Matthew Rogatzki, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, is working with players on the school's football team.

Normally, players undergoing concussion protocols, are tested for balance, cognitive abilities, and other usually subjective testing.

This study looks to make that process much more objective.

Rogatzki will draw blood of six players before and after every home game played this year.  They'll be looking for biomarkers in the blood that correspond with data taken from special helmets that record hits.

"It's much easier to take a blood sample and say yes, this person had a concussion, no, this person did not. Rather than run them through a battery of tests, and have one person who's going to say they had a concussion, another person might say they're clear to play," Rogatzki said.

He says when the brain is damaged from an impact, it releases a protein which they'll be able to see in the blood samples they take.

"So we can look at this protein in the blood, and say, well, the brain was likely damaged from an impact," he said.

Rogatzki says they should be able to diagnose if a player suffered a concussion more accurately.  He also says they hope to identify when a player might be more susceptible to sustaining a concussion.

"Not only do they want to create great memories on the playing field, but they also want to create a safe environment for their kids to be able to continuing play in the next 10-15 years," said Head Coach Mike Emendorfer.

So far only six players have volunteered for the study, but Rogatzki says they hope to get more to sign up.

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