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NFL Looking Into U.S. Army Blood Test to Diagnose Concussions

The National Football League is looking into the U.S. Army’s discovery of a blood test to diagnose hard-to-detect concussions.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the co-chairs of the league’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee met last week with Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army vice chief of staff, at the Seattle Seahawks’ offices to discuss the research, league spokesman Greg Aiello said yesterday in an e-mail.

More than 300,000 U.S. athletes lose consciousness each year from what may be as many as 3.8 million concussions, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published in 2007. The league is trying to educate its players about the possibility of permanent brain damage from concussions that aren’t allowed to heal.

“At General Chiarelli’s invitation, Commissioner Goodell plans on touring the Army’s research facilities with the general at some point in the near future,” Aiello said.

The test detects unique proteins that enter the blood stream from damaged brain cells, Army Colonel Dallas Hack told USA Today. The test still needs approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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