New way to detect sports concussions

Student athletes have a lot on their plate, balancing academics and their sport of choice.  It’s not just pressure in the classroom athletes have to face, there is a lot of pressure for students to play hard and win.  With that kind of pressure comes blurred judgment.  A teen that gets hurt on the field is less likely to say something, they’d rather ‘play through it.’

The top injury facing athletes is a concussion.  Warning signs are not always apparent immediately after impact, but can cause blurred vision, dizziness and headaches.  Recently a new vision test was created to help diagnose this problem on immediately on the sidelines.

The test
“Concussed athletes scored an average of 5.9 seconds slower than the best baseline scores in healthy controls on the timed test, in which athletes read a series of numbers on cards and are scored on time and accuracy,” a press release said.  “This quick visual test, easily administered on the playing field, holds promise as a complement to other diagnostic tools for sports-related concussion.”

Researchers believe the test shows promise
“This test has demonstrated its ability to provide objective evidence to aid medical professionals and trainers in determining which athletes need to come out of games after a blow to the head,” said Laura Balcer, MD, MSCE, professor of Neurology and senior author on the paper. “We’ll continue to measure the test’s effectiveness in different groups – players who play the same position who have and have not suffered concussions, for instance. It is our hope that the new test, once validated, can be folded into the current sideline battery of tests for concussion, as no single test at this time can be used to diagnose or manage concussion.”

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