Premier League footballers and Championship rugby union players are taking part in new research that could transform concussion management across sport.
Led by Professor Tony Belli, researchers at the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust have been gathering saliva and urine samples in an attempt to discover biomarkers to identify concussions.
This could in turn enable doctors to make more accurate and quick pitchside assessments.
“The ‘Birmingham Concussion Test’ is a really big breakthrough and it has been developed in Britain,” said Professor Belli.
“Sports around the world have been looking for a more reliable and objective assessment for concussion than the current balance and memory tests. They are just not very accurate.
“We can now provide that objective test with a relatively simple lab test. That will help with the graduated return to play but the long-term goal is to do this pitchside for the initial assessment. I think we could do that within a year or two.
“The test itself is not expensive at all, just a few quid, but to do this pitchside we need to develop a smaller machine, which should be a similar size to the devices diabetics use for measuring glucose levels.”