Aug 31, 2017
App Assist

After seven years of development, the Cleveland Clinic is unveiling an app to help with concussion diagnosis. Almost 50 school districts and colleges in Ohio will be trying it this season.

“In the event [athletes] do suffer an injury, it will provide them with means that most young athletes don’t have, and it provides them with measurements on their progressions so we can safely return them to the field,” Jason Cruickshank, ATC, CSCS, Concussion Center Coordinator at the Cleveland Clinic, told FOX-8 Cleveland.

The app uses a series of diagnostic tests that are completed at the beginning of the season. Each player’s coordination and reaction time are measured and stored. In case of injury, they will take the tests again to see if their cognitive abilities have been affected.

“These baseline tests are absolutely critical, and [the app] is a wonderful tool, and we’re just really happy the parents are seeing the value in it and participating,” Walter Madison, Western Reserve Youth Football Director, told FOX-8 Cleveland.

When using the app, student-athletes are tasked with matching as many shapes as they can in two minutes using an iPad. Reaction times are also gauged by having student-athletes tap a spot on the screen where a light has popped up.

“It allows us to get inside the athlete’s head, so to speak,” Jeff Kime, ATC, Senior Athletic Trainer at Nordonia High School in Macedonia, Ohio, told the Record-Courier (Kent, Ohio). “It gives us a better gauge, and we can compare their levels before, during, and after a concussion.”

In addition, the app can test student athletes’ abilities to make choices. One of the benefits is that it can test at differing levels of difficulty.

“We measure simple things like connecting the dots,” Cruickshank told WKSU 89.7. “A simple using of manipulating a pen to connect the dots in sequence and knowing that sequence. And then we make that a little bit harder with a different sequence.”

With accelerometers and gyroscopes built in, using the app on iPads are also be helpful for testing balance. The student-athletes stand on varied surfaces to see how well they can perform different stances, with the app recording their balance.

“It measures their balance and their sway by putting the iPad into a belt and wrapping it around their waist,” Cruickshank told WKSU 89.7. “Stances will be performed on hard ground, as well as on a foam surface. That foam surface really makes it more challenging because now they have to rely more on their actual muscles to keep their balance and less on that firm ground to give them that feedback.”

Image by Blamesummer

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