The Atlanta Injury News Blog

Can 'Virtual Biopsy' Detect Athletes' Brain Injuries?

Professional athletes (especially football players) often don't know the extent of their brain injuries until well after retirement. By that time, of course, it's usually too late. In fact, the only way to know for sure if a player has suffered from too many hits to the head is by performing an autopsy after death, according to Fox News.

But an experimental new imaging technology holds a lot of promise as an early diagnosis tool that might one day help diagnose and treat brain injuries before they get too debilitating. A study of the new technique involving three retired football players, a boxer and a wrestler showed that it helped doctors identify chemical changes in the brain caused by repeated hits.

These chemical changes, observed by a noninvasive "virtual biopsy" process, were not seen in five healthy volunteers.

Off the field, it's possible the technology could be used to confirm the brain injuries of plaintiffs in personal injury cases. An Atlanta injury attorney could better explain the processes typically used at trial to prove the existence of such damage.

As of now, diagnosis of brain injury is based on a number of symptoms that tend to be present in individuals with sports-related brain damage, including memory lapses, behavioral changes and depression. Technically, the brain injury consistent with repeated concussions is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, producing so-called "punch-drunk" symptoms.

Brain damage as a result of multiple concussions in sports, mainly football, has become a hot-button issue as several retired players have exhibited many of those symptoms and some have even died young. The National Football League has instituted some tougher rules related to helmet-to-helmet hits, while the topic has been a subject of congressional hearings.

Regardless of whether you were injured on the field or elsewhere, consider speaking with a Georgia injury attorney if you believe a third party was responsible for a brain injury.

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