Latest draftees could benefit from new-age concussion test

Tue May 5, 2015 9:15pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The 2015 NFL Draft class has now been welcomed into the league, one that could grow safer as their careers unfold through new-age research into identifying concussions.

Following a final settlement of a lawsuit brought by former players over concussions that could cost the league $1 billion, and a stunning retirement by a young player concerned about brain injury risks, there is high-tech hope for the future.

The GE/NFL Head Health Challenge has helped fund through grants 16 initiatives into diagnosing concussions from some 400 candidates, and is in the process of evaluating their progress before naming six "grand champions" for a next round of grants.

"We're excited by it," Jeff Miller, NFL senior vice president of health and safety policy, told Reuters.

The sweet 16 were selected by an outside group of experts on the potential impact of their concussion proposals.

"We asked, which ones are the 'wows'? Which ones really stand out, the ones that make you think this could really make a difference - a breakthrough protocol, a breakthrough idea, a breakthrough technology."

Head Health Challenge officials were visiting one such candidate on Tuesday, whose goal is to diagnose concussions and their severity from a blood sample.

"It's really quite magical technology," Kevin Hrusovsky, chief executive of Quanterix, a finalist in the GE/NFL Head Health Challenge, told Reuters in an interview.   Continued...

File photo of NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller at a news conference discussing Health and Safety in football in Manhattan, New York January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly