Next Frontier

June 1, 2017

For many, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset system is a fun way to play video games or watch movies. But a recent development shows the headset may also help improve speed and accuracy of concussion testing. The idea was developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham and University of East Anglia, both in the U.K., and it's currently being tested out with soccer players.

“You have players who say, ‘No, I’m fine, I want to go on,’ but they do this test or one like it—and I think those questions go away,” Michael Grey, PhD, a Reader in Rehabilitation Neuroscience in the School of Health Sciences at the University of East Anglia, told BBC News.

In the virtual reality test, individuals identify the font color of a word while tilting their head. As an example, the text may say “Yellow” but be written in green letters. If the player has trouble with this, his or her balance and vision aren’t lined up, which may indicate a concussion. This test allows for a quick assessment of this type of functioning.

“With our virtual reality balance test, we have the brain do one thing, and then we challenge it by tilting the room,” said Dr. Grey. “It’s only by doing this that we can see subtle changes that might not show up in a standard neurocognitive test.”

The virtual reality test could work in conjunction with clinical tests given as a baseline. As such, it could allow medical professionals on the sideline to act quickly on the sidelines to help protect players.

“I think we are looking for a functional test that will allow us to make a quick decision, and technology such as [the Oculus Rift system] could potentially be very helpful,” Dr. Mark Gillett, Director of Performance for West Bromwich Albion, an English football club, said in an article reported by SportTechie.

Overall, the goal for the Oculus Rift test—like many concussion assessments—is to keep players safe.

 “The challenge is when we allow players to get back out onto the pitch after sustaining a concussion,” Dr. Grey told BBC News. “Because the next one—the same blow—may cause a more serious injury.” 

SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

Vicis Zero1 earns highest ranking in NFL and NFLPA testing

For the second year in a row, the Vicis Zero1 helmet has earned the recognition of being the top-rated helmet of both the National Football League and the NFL Players Association. The results of  their annual Helmet Laboratory Testing Performance Results were announced recently. In its annual testing process, the NFL and NFLPA examine the performance … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Olympian Strength Aquatic Training & Rehabilitation

Coaches and athletic trainers can now help their athletes rehabilitate and build muscle faster with the AquaFit from Hudson Aquatic Systems. When using the AquaFit, athletes will receive the benefits of exercising in water, lowering impact and increasing outcomes in half the time of land based workouts. The stabilizing and buoyant effects of water also … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Expand Your Weight Room

Strength and sport coaches can now expand the versatility of their weight room with the Club KettleBlock Handle from PowerBlock. Founded in 1991 by specialty fitness equipment designers, coaches can be certain that PowerBlock products are made specifically with those in the fitness industry in mind. Coaches can simply replace the dumbbell handle on their … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Elevate Your Game

As athletic budgets decrease, programs are looking for new ways to give their teams the best equipment possible without breaking the bank. Athletic directors can now offer multiple teams the same quality scoring experience with the Basketball/Volleyball/Wrestling Scoreboard & Timer from Eversan, Inc. With an 180-degree viewing angle provided by an innovative design, fans, athletes, … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Pure Hydration

In the heat of competition, the last thing that coaches and athletic trainers should be worried about is whether their athletes are properly hydrated. With the Vertical Power System from Waterboy Sports, there is no more need for this concern. Players always have fluid at their fingertips, as this system has a 23-gallon water tank … CLICK TO READ MORE...


Stay at the Top of Your Game!
Receive articles like this by signing up for our newsletters