Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brain Injury Awareness Month: SmartPhone Concussion App

As many of you know, today is the start of the NCAA tournament. Like many years, the University of North Carolina (UNC) is a #1 seed in the tournament and many of you have likely picked them to win the title in your bracket. However, UNC is not only fighting to win a National Championship on the basketball court, but is also fighting to increase awareness of concussions.

Jason Mihalik, an assistant professor of Exercise and Sports Science in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Gerard Gioia '84 of the George Washington University School of Medicine, co-authored a smartphone app designed to allow individuals to answer a series of questions to determine if someone has recently experienced a concussion.

The app comes in two different forms. The basic version of the app is called Concussion Recognition and Response Application ($3.99 on iTunes) and allows laypeople to answer a series of questions regarding topics like dizziness and memory problems to determine if someone has recently suffered a concussion.

A more advanced version of the app called Concussion Assessment and Response Sport app is available for professionals such as athletic trainers and physicians. This app will be used to help athletic trainers make the tough call of determining whether or not to pull an athlete from a sporting event due to a concussion or concussion-like symptoms.

These apps, coupled with recent legislation in many states requiring athletes with concussion-like symptoms to be removed from sporting events, has the potential to greatly reduce severe brain damage suffered by youth athletes. Hopefully, Brain Injury Awareness Month will inspire more technological advances that can be used to improve the detection, treatment and prevention of brain injuries.

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