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).
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.