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University of Nebraska Develops “Equation” To Assist In Concussion Determination

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Did you know there isn’t a surefire physical test to determine whether or not you have a concussion?

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Were you aware that there is not a surefire physical test of whether or not a person has a concussion?

I’m guessing you weren’t.

Doctors can now measure troponin, a protein, to determine whether or not you are having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or whether your heart has been damaged. This is important because it is non-invasive - all they need to do is take some blood. They can do CT Scans, EKGs, and MRIs to test for all sorts of other maladies, but at this point in time, there is not a sure-fire test that will tell a physician or a coach that you have a concussion. (There’s not really even a definition for exactly what a concussion is in terms of what it does to your brain, either.)

Instead, they rely on concussion protocol, which at the beginning is basically a series of questions. If you’re dodgy enough, you can get past those questions and continue playing. This may not be true as much at the NFL level, where a team has a neurologist examining a player, but at the high school level you don’t get to have a neurologist.

In January, GQ published a story, The Concussion Diaries: One High School Football Player’s Secret Struggle with CTE, about a young man named Zac Easter who kept a diary of his life in dealing with his concussion symptoms. Easter was able to stay on the field because he lied when he was asked about his symptoms - he had severe headaches and experienced dizziness, but told his athletic trainer he was fine.

Prior to the game, Zac had passed Wilson's concussion protocol, but if she'd known what was really going on inside his brain, there's no way she would have let him near the field. After the concussion during the game in September, a teammate told Zac that he was looking at him cross-eyed. Later that night, he would write in his journal, “I saw a doctor and lied about all my concussion symptoms.”

Easter later experienced enough damage from concussions that he felt like his life wasn’t worth living and killed himself.

(The other part of this story that really sticks out to me is this: One psychologist even told Zac that he would—not could, would—end up penniless, homeless, and in a mental institution.

I would hope that the psychologist who did this is no longer a psychologist. It’s hard to believe that the person is anything but an uncaring moron.)

Equation makes it harder to 'outsmart' concussion tests | Nebraska Today | University of Nebraska–Lincoln

An equation that combines multiple subtest scores into one could make fooling a concussion protocol nothing more than a fool’s errand, says a recent study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

One of the ways that high schools combat concussions is to administer testing, as the article states - Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, or ImPACT, a computerized tool consisting of eight subtests that gauge neurocognitive performance.

These tests are administered before the athlete ever takes the field, and if you read the article, you’ll see that the concern is about “sandbagging” or trying to play dumb on the test so that you can easily pass it later if your trainer or coach suspects you of having concussion issues. Researcher Kathryn Higgins has developed a method by which they can detect the occurrence of said “sandbagging” and that may assist overly-enthusiastic young athletes from potentially doing further damage to themselves.

This is an interesting development from Nebraska. Good job!

How a Mere Prick of the Finger Can Diagnose a Concussion | WIRED

But now, scientists like Gill are finding those proteins in the blood of athletes within hours of receiving a blow to the head—with a little help from a super-sensitive, digitized biomarker assay machine called Simoa.

Note this article from Wired, in which they’re looking for the existence of proteins much like they’d look for elevated troponin to determine whether or not you have experienced heart damage.

Also note an article I wrote last June about my experience in being diagnosed with a brain injury in which I talked about a study being run by neurosurgeon Dr. Uzma Samadani that will allow them to determine if they can detect concussions through eye movement.

There has been a lot of work done in the area of concussions. Obviously it is a big issue for high school sports, and let’s be blunt, there is a LOT OF MONEY at stake as well. If someone can develop a cost-effective surefire physical test to determine if you have a concussion, that someone is going to make a crapton of money off of it. (Don’t take that as a callous statement. It’s a fact. Doctors may have your best interests at heart. Investors, not so much.)

Any advancement in the treatment of brain injuries is good news. Good job CB3!

News

Researchers decipher nanoscale architecture of beetle shell | Nebraska Today | University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Beetles wear a body armor that should weigh them down — think medieval knights and turtles. In fact, those hard shells protecting delicate wings are surprisingly light, allowing even flight. Better understanding the structure and properties of beetle exoskeletons could help scientists engineer lighter, stronger materials. Such materials could, for example, reduce gas-guzzling drag in vehicles and airplanes and reduce the weight of armor, lightening the load for the 21st-century knight.

New equipment speeds response to animal diseases | Nebraska Today | University of Nebraska–Lincoln

New equipment is allowing researchers at the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center to identify potentially deadly bacteria in a matter of minutes — a process that previously took days.

Huskers Qualify for Fifth Consecutive NCAA Championships - Huskers.com - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

The Nebraska rifle team qualified for the 2017 NCAA Championships announced by the NCAA on Wednesday afternoon. The Huskers advance to the NCAA Championships for the fifth consecutive year, which ties the school record for most consecutive NCAA Championship appearances. The last time NU qualified five years in a row was from 2004-2008. Nebraska has two top-five finishes in the last four years, including a fourth-place finish and the individual smallbore champion (Rachel Martin) in 2015.

Anthony Steels Battling Cancer, Seeking Awareness - Huskers.com - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

One of Nebraska’s most unique walk-on football players ever has Stage 4 prostate cancer. Anthony “Slick Steels” walked on from a military base in Saragosa, Spain, and went on to earn the prestigious Guy Chamberlin Trophy in 1981.

Stop saying the NCAA tournament bubble is ‘historically weak.’ It never is - SBNation.com

There’s a three-word phrase that we all need to remove from our college basketball lexicon.

Bracketology 2017: North Carolina jumps to the top line - SBNation.com

Baylor drops to a two seed, while Villanova, Kansas and Gonzaga join the Tar Heels at the top of the bracket.

Minnesota defeats Maryland, 89-75 - The Daily Gopher

The Magic Number is 0!

Indiana-Iowa final score: Hoosiers stumble late, drop 5th straight to Hawkeyes - The Crimson Quarry

It’s more of the same for Indiana tonight — and what may feel like the end for Tom Crean in Bloomington

Indiana is having a nightmare basketball season for them. You wouldn’t think they’d want Crean gone one year after winning the Big Ten and making the Sweet 16, but that so many do is a sign of how impatient EVERYONE is. We are all mad.

Michigan survives scare at Rutgers - Maize n Brew

^ That is something I never thought I’d write

A complete timeline of Ole Miss’ NCAA investigation - Red Cup Rebellion

Here’s how firing a women’s hoops coach led to football bowl ban four years later.

The updated list of 21 NCAA allegations against Ole Miss football - SBNation.com

The list is now expanded from its original 13, to 21.

The NCAA says Ole Miss boosters gave a recruit $13,000 and didn’t even land him - SBNation.com

Sometimes the bagman can’t get results.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze likely won't survive this NCAA violations scandal | FOX Sports

In light of Wednesday’s news that Ole Miss has banned itself from the 2017 postseason upon receiving new allegations of NCAA violations, the easiest question to answer is whether Rebels coach Hugh Freeze will survive his program’s ongoing scandal. He most certainly won’t.

Then There’s This

The dude looks permanently stoned.