With the computing power of an iPad and a specialized app, tracking head injuries is getting extremely hi-tech.
Student athletes at Sarasota's Booker High School are strapping tablet computers to their backs. They're participating in a series of tests designed to screen brain function before a traumatic injury on the field that could possibly result in a concussion.
"We've implemented the impact testing here in Sarasota County to give us a baseline to where we know what the athlete's brain functions at at normal levels," says Coach Kevin Eichorn, Director of Athletic Training Services at Booker High School.
The portable program is called C3. It was developed by the Cleveland Clinic. It brings baseline testing to the gym for quick screening and analysis, and even onto the field, giving experts quick access to records for a quick diagnosis.
Currently, baseline testing is done in a doctor's office at a PC.
"Now with the iPad app, we can have sideline assessment of concussion right then and there, we can have the information processed quickly and made available to the healthcare provider," says, Dr. Daniel Stein, a board-certified neurologist.
Dr. Stein trained at the Cleveland Clinic, and thought it was good match for students in the Bay Area. Right now, it's only available in Pittsburg, Ohio and Iowa. Stein believes if the Sarasota test is successful, C3 could be available all over the country.
"This is really a game changer," says Frank Carruba, Chief Operating Officer of C3 Logix. "Never before has anyone put these different domains of evaluation into a mobile app, as well as making it available ubiquitously across the internet."
C3 stands for Cleveland Clinic Concussion App. C3 measures vision, balance and mental clarity -- all of which can shift after a hard hit.
"If your son or daughter was being evaluated for a concussion, you would want the most accurate and sensitive way to help the doctors determine if they're safe to go back to play," Dr. Stein said.
"I believe that this will provide a more sensitive and accurate [picture]of brain function and make it safer for those players to return to play," he added.
Concussions are a threat to the professionals and athletes at the collegiate level. But high school athletes are also at risk, and students are taking notice.
"His eyes were bloodshot red, slobbering out of his mouth, and he couldn't go to sleep," says Romello Burke, a junior wrestler and football player at Booker High. "It was pretty scary. I didn't want to get in the game. I was thinking about really quitting, but I love the game too much."
Dr. Stein believes at one in every 750 athletic events, there's a concussion. Only one in ten concussions are complete knock outs; most are hard to spot.
"What you don't want to see is an athlete returning to play prior to their brain healing. Then they can sustain a secondary injury, a secondary impact syndrome, which could be life threatening," Eichorn says.
Having complete baseline readings available on the sideline helps doctors accurately diagnosis athletes, returning to the game as soon as possible.
"What this can do is, it's going to allow us to know for sure that the athlete's brain is healed before they start their return to play," Coach Eichorn said.
Right now, C3 Logix tells us health systems, doctors and colleges are using the app; so are club sports and high schools. The company hopes to release a consumer version, which would help parents track status of their injured players by capturing some measurements at home.
For more information from C3Logix: http://www.c3logix.com/
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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