New portable machine may accurately detect concussions

first_imgWashington, Apr 3 (PTI) Scientists have developed an inexpensive, ultraportable machine that provides fast, objective feedback on an athletes balance disruption following a suspected concussion.The balance board called BTrackS is twice as effective as the most widely used balance test for concussion in US, researchers said.Impaired balance is one of the major symptoms of a recent concussion. Most governing bodies in sports recommend three testing components in a concussion protocol: physical symptoms, cognitive function and balance.For the balance portion, most sports organisations use what is known as the BESS (Balance Error Scoring System) test.Research suggests that the BESS test accurately catches a concussion about 30 per cent of the time, according to San Diego State University (SDSU) kinesiologist Dann Goble, inventor of BTrackS and first author on the study.”The problem with the BESS is that it is really unreliable. Often you will get different scoring results from different people watching the same athlete go through the protocol,” said Goble.You can measure balance objectively using force plates that track precisely how much a person sways, but most of these devices are either very large, very expensive, or both, making them unlikely to gain traction in sports.Goble has adapted this technology into a balance board about the size of a suitcase that plugs into a computer or laptop, all for under USD 1,000.To test whether the technology could accurately detect concussions in a real-world environment, Goble and colleagues took baseline balance measurements from more than 500 athletes competing in a variety of sports, including football, rugby, lacrosse, soccer, basketball and water polo.advertisementThen they followed those athletes over the course of their season.If a player sustained a head injury, trainers measured their balance using BTrackS and compared the new score to the baseline score.If the new sway score was on average more than 5 centimetres higher than baseline, then Gobles system predicts a balance disruption indicative of concussion.Athletes also received follow-up care from a physician who could reliably diagnose whether they were concussed or not.Of 25 athletes determined by a team physician to have received concussions, BTrackS detected 16 of them, giving Gobles technology a success rate of 64 per cent – more than twice that of the BESS test.The research was published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. PTI SAR SARlast_img read more