While concussions have been an injury the human population has been aware of since as early as the 14th century, until recent discoveries the damage caused by concussions were widely unknown. It was not until the 17th century that the word “concussion” was used and the symptoms associated were functional rather than physiological. This thought process paved the way for Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-American neuropathologist, to first discover psychological damage that occurs after repeated head trauma. This trauma is most common in sports athletes, mainly those in full contact sports like football. Dr. Omalu discovered CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, was caused by repeated concussions over a span of time. CTE is a progressively degenerative disease that causes the brain to lose mass. Which can cause many problems including behavioral disturbances like increased aggression and higher suicidality. Dr. Omalu has a foundation for the study of CTE at his website at http://bennetomalufoundation.org/about-the-foundation/.
There are other options, though, the imPACT test is a return to play test that sets a baseline for the athlete before the season begins. Then, if a concussion is suspected, the athlete can come back and be tested against their pre-determined baseline. This type of testing has been proven to have inconsistent results and high error rates. So how do we protect our athletes? These tests do not seem to be reliable enough to inspire faith in such an important subject.
There is a new standard of testing that far surpasses any test in the past. The Array 20 test is a Blood Barrier Permeability test designed to test the blood of an athlete to determine exactly how much damage has occurred in or around the brain. The Array 20 test is a return to play assessment, exactly like imPACT, but the Array 20 exceeds the capability of imPACT. The Array 20 tests for specific antibodies that appear in the blood while the blood-brain barrier is damaged. This allows for a clear indicator of when an athlete is ready to return to play without facing the danger of second impact syndrome. Which is suffering a second concussion while the damage from the first has not healed. The Array 20 test is on the leading edge of protection for athletes of today.