Combating Concussions

Combating Concussions


As you know, sports-related concussion is
really hot the media right now it’s getting a lot of attention from particularly cases in the NFL where
players are now going in trying to sue the NFL for brain damage that they feel has occurred
because multiple concussions playing the game. So what we’re trying to do is come
up with not just for the NFL, but for all levels of sport because concussion is all encompassing, a better way of assessing concussion on the
field. The way we’re trying to do it is through
a balanced test using a device that is low cost that any team can afford and would measure body sway just by
standing on it. So currently the way people test
concussions on the field is through what’s called the BESS test. The
BESS test is a subjective test where an athletic
trainer watches you stand in particular balance configurations and
tries to count errors but errors are things like him coming up
of the hip or foot touching the ground and when you have two trainers do this test,
you know, on the same person though often come up with different
numbers we’d like to do is take out at the trainers hands and you some objective device that will
always come up with the same number so that better decisions can be made
about whether concussion has occurred. What we’re trying to do is create a
low-cost balance board. So there are some low-cost devices
out there currently is things like the Nintendo Wii Balance Board have been
used to get center pressure data that can be used to
know how good your balances we’re also trying
to develop a device like that with the help of an incubator on campus,
the Zahn Center, we’re hoping to later commercialize this device. The
first up the project was to validate the system the software and the
balance board itself We have collected data on sixty
healthy individuals and we’ve been able to show that our device has a 99 percent accuracy
compared to the gold standard in the field for balance assessment. What we want to do next is integrate the
system into the San Diego sports athletics program, so where we’re gonna start is by using the club rugby team we have
agreement from the coach and we will in September now start doing
concussion assessments on the sidelines for games with our rugby team. So beyond
concussion what what we’re hoping is that this
system will actually be good for all sorts of different applications in particular we like to
get into are some clinical realms; we’d like to
look at various disease conditions and see if we can use this system in clinics I in the home perhaps as a way of tracking balance and knowing
when significant changes and bounce happened perhaps letting us know ahead a
time when various disease conditions are kicking in

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