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TGen, Riddell Team Up on Molecular-based Study of Concussions

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Translational Genomics Research Institute and Easton-Bell Sports, through its Riddell brand, are partnering on a study on the molecular underpinnings of concussions.

The goal of the study announced today will be to combine genetic information with real-time microelectronic information gathered by Riddell's Sideline Response System to provide a molecular "risk" and "recovery" score to help physicians better determine when players can be expected to recover from a concussion and "get back on the field," TGen Assistant Professor Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen said in a statement.

Riddell's Sideline Response System is a data-intensive system that provides researchers, athletic staff, and players with information about the number and severity of head impacts a player receives during games and practices.

Concussions and repeated blows to the head suffered during sporting activities have increasingly been implicated in the deaths of athletes in sports such as football and hockey. TGen and Riddell said that their study could lead to sports equipment manufactured by Easton-Bell Sports that offer better protection for football and hockey, as well as baseball, cycling, snowsports, and powersports.

TGen will also collaborate with the Barrow Neurological Institute on the study. The Barrow Resource for Acquired Injury to the Nervous System, or BRAINS, program treats patients with traumatic or spinal cord injuries.

"Combining our neurological expertise and the information from our BRAINS program with TGen's genomic knowledge and Riddell's helmet technology will provide great insight into how we measure concussions and how they affect the human brain," Javier Cárdenas, a neurologist and brain injury expert with Barrow, said. "The genomic data could aid in the treatment process and will greatly add to the growing body of knowledge we're acquiring about head injury patients."

Athletic trainers from A.T. Still University and SAFE Football, which teaches game-play techniques to reduce the risk of head impacts, will join Barrow, TGen and Riddell said.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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