Handheld Device Could Quickly Diagnose Concussions in Young Athletes
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has demonstrated how a specific assessment of the eye could potentially help properly diagnose and monitor concussions. According to a report, the findings were published this month in JAMA Ophthalmology. In what was the first study of its kind, the research term showed that quantitative pupillary light reflex metrics, which determines how the pupil responds to light and are obtained by using a hand-held device, could be used to differentiate adolescent athletes who suffered from a concussion from healthy adolescents.
What the Study Found
Researchers hope these findings may lead to a future objective assessment tool for use in sports or urgent care settings, ultimately leading to more timely and accurate concussion diagnosis and treatment. The study’s lead author, Christina L. Master, said the visual system is affected after a sports-related concussion and that this is not something patients can intentionally control or hide. Today, properly diagnosing a concussion is a challenge because of a lack of objective diagnostic tests for teens.
In recent years, researchers at CHOP have studied the body’s sensory system that processes special motion and visual information to seek objective biomarkers for concussions that can support diagnosis and guide individualized treatment and recovery plans. Prior studies have also shown that concussion leads to difficulty in adjusting visual focus and impairments in the autonomic nervous system, making this device a promising potential physiological biomarker for concussions.
The study took place at a specialty concussion program and a private suburban high school among athletes between the ages of 12 and 18. The device was able to differentiate between athletes with concussions and those without concussions.
Danger of Concussions
It is crucial that those who are involved in contact sports including high school athletes be guarded against repeat concussions. When an athlete has suffered a concussion during play, he or she should stop and sit it out. The brain requires time to heal, which is why rest is important. Young athletes must be closely monitored by coaches and hopefully, this device will help identify athletes who have a concussion so they can get the attention they need. Repeat concussions can cause cumulative effects on the brain including brain swelling, irreversible brain damage, long-term disabilities or even death.
If your head injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you can seek compensation for your injuries and damages. An experienced brain injury lawyer can help advise you regarding your legal rights and options.