New tools diagnose and prevent sports injuries

WTNH (New Haven, Connecticut)

March 10, 2023

Young people are heading back onto the athletic fields for spring sports like lacrosse, baseball and tennis, which means the potential for injuries.

Yale Medicine’s Franklin Brown, an expert on concussions, urges people to know the signs.

“A person may appear momentarily dazed or confused, they may not be able to talk correctly, they look confused when they look around” Brown said.

And while the vast majority of concussion cases recover completely, there can be complications.

New research has changed the protocol about how long someone who has had a concussion should rest from five days, to just two.

Drug and device maker Abbott has created two blood tests for concussions. One is a handheld device that can be used on the sidelines and touts a 97% accuracy rate.

“It can tell us if someone needs to rest, if they need further workup, it actually tells us if the brain was damaged and so that’s an exciting new finding,” Brown said.

Since Damar Hamlin‘s Commotio Cordis heart-stopping injury on the football field, the focus on protecting athlete’s hearts has been in the forefront.

Extensive research led to shirts with protective panels built in the chest, but Yale Sports Cardiologist Rachel Lampert said the shirt has to be approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment or NOCSAE.

Lampert said that most of these types of shirts on the market are not NOCSAE certified.

“They’re advertised as preventing minor sternal injuries, and I’m sure that’s what they do, but if the goal is to promote Commotio Cordis you really do need to use the ones that are manufactured to the standards set up by NOCSAE,” Lampert said.

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