Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There’s a new tool for treating concussions.
An app is taking information right from the field, court or rink and putting it directly in doctors’ hands.
After a concussion, how do you get the information from the field to the doctor’s office?
A new app can help a trainer record an athlete’s performance, save it, and keep it in the medical record.
Allegheny Sports Medicine trainer Craig Castor says technology is key.
“What we’re trying to do is basically use the iPad itself to collect data on vision, dynamic vision and static vision, for balance testing, also for cognitive thinking skills,” he says.
Most available tools check thinking and reaction time, but this one gives a broader set of information.
A key component is the iPad’s gyroscope, a way to measure the body’s motion and angles.
“You don’t realize how important your eyes are until you close them and try to balance,” Castor says.
This type of evaluation is with a licensed app that tests reaction time, motor skills, and how the eyes and balance organs in the ears work together.
At the moment, it is being used by Robert Morris University’s basketball and hockey teams, and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds soccer team.
Because the athlete’s testing information is all contained within the app, doctors can get it instantly and take better care of a patient’s concussion symptoms.
Dr. Edward Snell of the Allegheny Sports Concussion Clinic says the app will give insight to how people recover.
“Being able to monitor, or at least evaluate that, with this tool, it gives us a better understanding of how people are recovering,” he says.
The Cleveland Clinic developed this and has been using it since 2011 in about 8,000 athletes, but so far there’s no long-term data on outcomes after concussions using this tool.
The plan is to eventually use this type of testing at all 14 school districts that get athletic training services through Allegheny Sports Medicine.