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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Cleveland Clinic has Concussion on the Brain

Published June 8, 2012 11:43 AM by Rebecca Mayer
You cannot watch television, flip on the radio or peruse the Internet lately without hearing about concussion. Most recently, speculation surrounding the suicide of highly revered NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau points to the potential aftermath of incurring multiple concussions.

This shocking news-and countless other athletic experiences involving concussion-has resulted in a fast and furious race to get to the bottom of this injury to the brain which is induced by direct or indirect biomechanical forces.

On Nightly News with Brian Williams this week, the investigators discussed the effectiveness of a headband marketed to prevent concussion in female soccer players. This product, devised by a manufacturer after his daughter suffered a concussion while playing soccer, joins the shock strips that football players wear on their helmets to reduce the amount of impact in a collision.

Experts with the Cleveland Clinic, including Susan M. Linder, PT, DPT, NCS, Jay L. Alberts, PhD, and Scott Euype, PT, DPT, MHS, OCS, are behind the development and use of the Cleveland Clinic COMET (C3) Concussion application for the iPad2. This app uses gyroscopic and accelerometer technology to evaluate postural stability and neurocognitive, neuromotor and visuo-vestibular function.

Reportedly, 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur each year, comprising 10% of all athletic injuries.

According to Dr. Alberts, the operational definition of concussion has changed in the last few decades. As he told APTA attendees in today's Quantitative and Comprehensive Evaluation of Athletes Post Concussion discussion: "It used to be that if you didn't lose consciousness after contact, it was not a concussion. We know better now. That's no longer true."

The team at Cleveland Clinic aims to educate parents and coaches so that concussions may be properly identified and managed to prevent future impairments and unnecessary time lost from sports participation.

Use of the iPad app assists the team in instant reporting of metrics and an immediate push to electronic medical records. Currently being used solely in the clinic, Dr. Alberts sees the app being used by school systems and athletic trainers down the road. Instead of seeing an athlete post-injury, he hopes this app will encourage testing student-athletes at the beginning of a sport's season to establish a baseline for comparison if injury were to occur.

The app is designed to provide trainers with a means to check for possible signs of concussion-like a change in balance or difficulty focusing-and compare it to the student's healthy test results. These tests aren't necessarily new, but the app houses them all in one place for easy, mobile use on the sidelines.



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