Head trauma and concussion has been a massive talking point in contact sports in recent years, as ex and current athletes have started to speak out on the matter.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that approximately 700,000 Australians live with a kind of brain injury, with around two-thirds of those affected suffering from injury before the age of 25.
Nucleus Network, a phase one clinical research organisation, is conducting a clinical trial in Melbourne to see if a new medication named PRV-002, developed by Odyssey Group International Inc., can help the treatment of this trauma.
NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre has been making the push for improvement in concussion treatments in sports worldwide and is currently an advocate for this new medication. Favre has also taken on the role of a Sports Advisory Board Member for Odyssey International.
“In my 19 years of playing, I’d take 20-30 hits per game. There wasn’t one game that I can remember that I didn’t have my bell rung,” Favre said.
“It’s not just people who play contact sports that suffer from it though. It is very common in the military, in car accidents, even just slipping on an icy sidewalk can give you a concussion that can impact your life.
“There’s no real treatment available at the moment, so when there’s a promising treatment that could help, such as Odyssey’s PRV-002, I’m hopeful that it will help take away some of the consequences of CTE and other brain injuries.”
PRV-002 is a drug candidate being developed as a neurosteroid powder inhaled through the nose by sharply exhaling through the tube pictured above.
The medication is suggested to reduce brain swelling, maintain blood flow, and potentially reduce cell death in the brain if administered immediately.
So, what does this mean for the future of the NRL and all contact sports alike?
Recently there have been many debates around the effectiveness of headgear and how concussions could threaten the physicality of the sport, with a lot of talk around high tackles.
While the NRL has incorporated and is trying to enforce new rules to try and limit the number of high tackles by sin-binning players, there is still a massive risk regardless.
In an article written by the ABC, NRL’s head of elite football Graham Annesley stated that about 70% of the time the defender is more likely to become concussed in a normal tackle as opposed to the attacker.
Basically, saying that no matter the tackle, high or low, someone is at risk of entering an HIA.
In the first 10 rounds of the 2021 season, the NRL had recorded 109 head assessments and 52 concussions, all before the halfway mark of the season.
While this has been a common trend in recent years, players are starting to become more aware of the dangers of concussions. An on-hand medication that can prevent future brain trauma and end the debate on the topic, would be a very valuable asset for the NRL and all contact sport.