Evaluating concussion in Premier League football

Principal Investigators: Professor Tony Belli, Dr Patrick O’Halloran
Institutions: University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Status: Ongoing

Premier League footballers are participating in this ground-breaking concussion study run by the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

This study includes the collection of saliva and urine samples from Premier League football players throughout the 2018-19 season, as well as uninjured control players. Samples are taken by club doctors immediately post-match and at further time points over the course of their recovery.

These samples will then be tested in the laboratory using the ground-breaking ‘Birmingham Concussion Test’ which has been developed by the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust following a decade of research led by academic neurosurgeon Professor Tony Belli.

The test looks for molecules in the blood, saliva or urine known as microRNAs, which can act as biomarkers to indicate whether the brain has suffered injury. Mirna Diagnostics Limited owns the global patent licence of these biomarkers.

In the future, this test has the potential to assist in return-to-play decisions and could be used across sports, from grassroots to professional, in addition to military and other frontline settings.

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