SAN DIEGO, Calif. (August 28, 2013) In the United States there are millions of sports related concussions each year, but many go undiagnosed because for some athletes, the fear of being benched trumps the fear of permanent brain damage, and there is no objective test available to accurately diagnose concussions on the sidelines.
Researchers at San Diego State University have set out to change that.
A team led by Daniel Goble, an exercise and nutritional sciences professor at SDSU, have developed software and an inexpensive balance board that can measure balance with 99 percent accuracy on the field and in the clinic. They are testing the device on SDSU's rugby team, with the hope of soon making it available worldwide to athletes of all ages and levels.
Balance tests are a primary method used to detect concussion. The current means of scoring these tests relies on the skill of athletic trainers to visually determine whether or not a concussion has occurred.
Trainers count "errors" while watching athletes stand in different foot configurations such as on one foot or with feet heel to toe when a concussion is suspected. Errors include stepping out of place or removing one's hand from one's hip and the total number is compared to a baseline test preformed preseason.
This testing method can be both subjective and inaccurate, and can easily be skewed to return a concussed athlete to the field, said Goble.
A better test
With help from the SDSU College of Engineering and the Zahn Innovation Center, Goble recently validated the balance tracking system, or B-TrackS, to assess balance before and after potential concussions.
Currently force plates, which are small, square platforms used to quantify balance, gait and other biomechanics, are the primary tools to test balance. But they can cost $10,000 per plate, which the average high school or university can't afford.
Enter the B-Trac
|Contact: Beth Chee|
San Diego State University