Notre Dame Researchers Develop iPad-Based Concussion Diagnostic Tool

Fans of contact sports have witnessed a good amount of gruesome injuries. But as spectators know, one injury with maybe the most frightening consequences takes place below the surface.

Concussions aren’t always easy to recognize. Many contact sports players will say that they’ve officially been diagnosed with a concussion several times, but have likely suffered undiagnosed ones as well.

Symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can include headaches, depression and loss of memory, but experts believe there are other severe effects that aren’t well understood yet. Last year the National Football League provided $30 million to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to advance the understanding of brain injuries.

After a concussion, it’s important for athletes to stay off the field to keep from aggravating the injury. However, Christian Poellabauer, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Notre Dame, said that almost 90% of concussions go unrecognized.

Poellabauer along with a team of Notre Dame students developed a tablet-based application to detect TBI soon after it occurs. A user takes an assessment before and after a game or match. Looking for indicators of brain injury like distorted vowels, hyper nasality and imprecise consonants, the program compares the two sets of results. The app is meant to be a first stop for athletes. If there is any indication of concussion they’re referred to a physician. Poellabauer explains more in the video above.

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