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Sports Medicine Feature

Source: Wikimedia Commons and Keith Allison

New Toolkit Will Track Former Football Players’ Brain Health

Tracey Romero • Tue, March 20th, 2018

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The Hall of Fame (HOF) Players Foundation and Quadrant Biosciences are partnering together to address former football players’ health concerns by using Quadrant’s brain health assessment toolkit to track former players’ brain health over time.

According to a press release, the HOF Players Foundation is a Georgia nonprofit organization established by members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Their mission is to help legendary National Football League players who are facing personal difficulties and health challenges. Quadrant Biosciences is a life science company that is focused on functional assessment tools and epigenetic biomarkers for various brain health disorders.

"Our fundamental objective is the well-being of our players and their families," Paul Krause, a 1998 inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and member of HOF Player Foundation's Board of Directors, said in a release.

"So we are excited to partner with a company like Quadrant Biosciences and deploy their unique brain health assessment tools, such as the ClearEdge Brain Health Toolkit, in a long term monitoring program for our players and their spouses. By documenting our physical and mental challenges, the results will offer a clearer understanding of our issues, providing current and future players with a better quality of life than we have endured."

Quadrant’s ClearEdge Brain Health toolkit was developed in cooperation with researchers and clinicians at SUNY Upstate Medical University. It is a collection of FDA-cleared and listed functional assessments designed to monitor and track subtle changes in cognitive function. Certified clinicians meet with the players and their spouses on a regular basis to perform assessment, provide therapeutic options and monitor their health long term.

Anthony Petraglia, M.D., Quadrant Bioscience chief medical officer and a neurosurgeon at Rochester Regional Health in Rochester, New York, said in the release, "[This testing battery] will enable us to longitudinally monitor patients with regards to their brain health; not unlike the way we screen heart and kidney function with age. This will further our ability to utilize practical functional and epigenetic biomarkers to assess changes in brain function over time and determine the efficacy of various therapeutics targeting brain aging and disease."

Through this partnership, Quadrant Biosciences will provide the toolkits and the clinicians to the football players. They will also be collecting saliva samples to be used as part of research on epigenetic biomarkers for brain health disorders. Testing will start in April.

Petraglia added, "The real opportunity here is to try and improve quality of life by using objective and reliable tools to very accurately track how each individual reacts to the care they are provided."

He also said that this study could benefit the greater populations as well not just athletes allowing the medical field to become more proactive and less reactive when it comes to brain health.

Jack Youngblood, former Los Angeles Rams Defensive End and Pro Football Hall of Fame member explained in the release that "the most difficult part is not knowing if or how your brain health is changing, especially in ways that can be subtle and hard to see unless you have a way of monitoring it objectively over time.”

“Being able to be regularly tested by a clinician close to home, see my results in an understandable report, and discuss those with an expert will make a huge difference. Having this expert guidance and support is exactly what we retired players and our families need right now," he added.

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