Playing ice hockey and basketball increases serum levels of S-100B in elite players: a pilot study

Clin J Sport Med. 2003 Sep;13(5):292-302. doi: 10.1097/00042752-200309000-00004.


Objective: To investigate changes in serum concentrations of the biochemical markers of brain damage S-100B and neuron-specific enolase (NSE) in ice hockey and basketball players during games.

Design: Descriptive clinical research.

Setting: Competitive games of the Swedish Elite Ice Hockey League and the Swedish Elite Basketball League.

Participants: Twenty-six male ice hockey players (from two teams) and 18 basketball players (from two teams).

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measures: S-100B and NSE were analyzed using two-site immunoluminometric assays. The numbers of acceleration/deceleration events were assessed from videotape recordings of the games. Head trauma-related symptoms were monitored 24 hours after the game using the Rivermead Post Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire.

Results: Changes in serum concentrations of S-100B (postgame - pregame values) were statistically significant after both games (ice hockey, 0.072 +/- 0.108 microg/L, P = 0.00004; basketball, 0.076 +/- 0.091 microg/L, P = 0.001). In basketball, there was a significant correlation between the change in S-100B (postgame-pregame values) and jumps, which were the most frequent acceleration/deceleration (r = 0.706, P = 0.002). For NSE, no statistically significant change in serum concentration was found in either game. For one ice hockey player who experienced concussion during play, S-100B was increased more than for the other players.

Conclusions: S-100B was released into the blood of the players as a consequence of game-related activities and events. Analysis of the biochemical brain damage markers (in particular S-100B) seems to have the potential to become a valuable additional tool for assessment of the degree of brain tissue damage in sport-related head trauma and probably for decision making about returning to play.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / blood*
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Basketball / physiology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head Injuries, Closed / blood*
  • Hockey / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / blood*
  • Pilot Projects
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100 Proteins
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase