For the NFL, the effort to curb concussions is for high stakes. Now, a handful of companies are working with the league, looking well beyond observable physical symptoms to find better ways to test for the head injuries.
Quanterix is among the companies aiming to bring an objective concussion test to market, as testing is still largely limited to subjective measures like observing eye movement. About 2.5 million emergency room visits were related to traumatic brain injuries in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and early detection can be crucial to limit further damage.
The company hopes to discover not only if individuals have a concussion, but also whether they've suffered past, undetected head injuries. It also hopes to gauge how long sufferers should avoid exertion. The National Football League has channeled money into Quanterix and other concussion treatment companies.
"We're trying to provide real, objective science to this really subjective cognitive world," said Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO of Quanterix.