Means of concussion detection in the works

July 8, 2013

Topic: injury prevention

After sustaining a concussion, people may realize they have difficulty focusing. While some doctors may claim it is temporary, recent research suggests it is not.

Concussions are a common problem among athletes - those who play contact sports are at a 19 percent risk of concussion per season, according to the University of Pittsburgh Trauma Research Center. However, it can be difficult to determine whether an individual should keep playing after hitting his or her head. Since football players hit their heads constantly, there would be no game if they got benched every time their helmets crunched. 

New research out of the University of Nebraska's Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior looked to create a means of detecting concussions within minutes after contact to provide a more effective method of deciding if the player can be put back in the game. The team developed a mesh cap that analyzes the brain waves of players right off of the field to help medical staff conclude whether the patient is able to continue playing. 

"There has been great concussion research that's been going on for decades," said Dennis Molfese, director of the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior. "It's disconcerting to realize just how little we really know."

Concussions and what they can lead to
According to the University of Pittsburgh Trauma Research Center, while many who suffer a concussion make a full recovery, there is the possibility of long-term effects. This is known as Post-Concussion Syndrome, and symptoms include problems with cognitive abilities such as memory, chronic headaches, trouble sleeping, mood swings, a newfound sensitivity to light and/or noise, exhaustion and dizziness after rising quickly. 

Any person, athlete or otherwise, who experiences a significant trauma to the head should visit his or her healthcare professional and cease all practice immediately. 

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