Concussion Researcher Weighs in on New FDA Approval

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Concussions are said to be one of the most important sports-related issues of our time.

A lot of research is being done to better understand the head injury.

So when there’s a new or promising development– it gets a lot of attention.

In February of this year, the FDA approved marketing of the “Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator.”

It’s said to be the first blood test to aid in the evaluation of concussions in adults.

But some researchers say calling it a “concussion test” is misleading.

“Because when you hear about a concussion test you assume that the test tells you that either someone has a concussion or they don’t have a concussion. Unfortunately that is not what this particular blood test does,” says Sanford Sports Science Institute co-founder Dr. Thayne Munce.

The test lets doctors know whether their patient has a brain bleed.

However, Doctor Munce says a brain bleed doesn’t always mean a concussion.

“I think a better way of describing it is not ‘aiding in the diagnosis of a concussion,’ but aiding in the diagnosis of a brain injury. A concussion is one type of mild traumatic brain injury. All concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries, but not all mild traumatic brain injuries are concussions.”

Concussions can be difficult to diagnose, because doctors rely on patients to report their own symptoms.
Neuropsychological tests and c-t scans can be done, but there’s no one, foolproof way to diagnose a concussion just yet.

So while Dr. Munce doesn’t think this particular test will be useful on the sidelines or in the training room, he says it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s important to understand that this test has its limitations, but I think down the road we will develop blood tests that are going to be better markers to determine whether or not someone has a concussion.”