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A New, Cheap, Effective Way to Diagnose Concussions

Hockey puck and ruler

Written by Whitney Lewis |

Attention all parents, coaches, and sports fanatics: a simple way to diagnose a concussion has finally been found!

In recent years, concerns about sustained head injuries have been rising. A concussion can be a serious injury leading to epilepsy, cognitive impairment, and even brain swelling if a second concussion is experienced before the brain has healed from a previous traumatic head injury.

Expensive technological equipment has been designed to help measure and detect the occurrence and severity of concussions, such as state-of-the-art football helmets which measure the force exerted on each player’s head and then send the data via telemetry to trainers on the sidelines. But because these helmets cost $1,500 a pop, most teams can’t afford such equipment.

Fortunately, a new study has revealed the accuracy of a new, simple, inexpensive way to diagnose a concussion. With football season about to begin, this new study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine is surfacing just in time.

Dr. Steven P. Broglio, director of the University of Michigan’s NeuroSport Research Laboratory and co-author of the study explains that, “you need to be able to quickly and easily assess” whether a given player has actually sustained one” because not every head impact results in a concussion. So to assess the damage, reaction time can be tested because it is known to increase immediately after a concussion.

The solution is simply a homemade measuring device – a hockey puck attached to a centimeter marked dowel. The process is simple. The athlete sits down, and the person administering the test stands. The person performing the test holds the measuring stick above the player’s hand, with the hockey puck resting at the player’s hand level. The stick is dropped, and the player grasps as soon as he is able.

The test provides a measurement of reaction time, and studies show that the test does very well in correctly assessing whether or not someone has a concussion. By testing players’ reaction times in pre-season, trainers will have a benchmark against which to measure any tests administered after a hit to the head.

So without money growing on the trees in front of your alma mater, kids, parents, coaches, and officials can easily test for concussions to keep players safe and get them the treatment they need.

Article Reviewed: August 16, 2013
Copyright © 2015 Healthy Magazine
Whitney Lewis, from Springfield, Oregon, studies English education at Brigham Young University. She has been cranking out poetry and news articles for her family since she was seven and now revels in writing for a larger audience. Because high school English teachers inspired her and helped her find her voice, she hopes to pass on the favor. Growing up in Oregon she developed a love for nature, especially fragrant flowers and hiking. She's a go-getter but one who will stop to smell the roses, literally, and figuratively. She's loved living in Utah for 4 years. Bring on the Wasatch!

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