Fans of the National Football League will notice blue tents popping on the sidelines in NFL games this season. These are designed to shield players when they are being evaluated for injuries, especially when it comes to conduct the concussion protocol. It will also help reduce noise and distractions during the testing. The fact remains that concussion screening still relies heavily on subjective observations by physicians and other health experts.
That’s changing, however. We have written about SyncThink‘s EYE-SYNC screening technology in the past. This system relies on virtual-reality (VR) style googles that track a player’s eye movements while viewing different patterns and moving images. It measures the subject’s ability to accurately predict the motion; the more difficulty the subject has in syncing eye movement with brain function, the more likely they have suffered a concussion. The test takes about 60 seconds to complete. The University of Texas is the latest university to adopt EYE-SYNC for its athletics sports medicine staff for their programs, including football. The system will provide both on-field and locker room screenings to support return-to-play decisions during practices and games. UT joins Iowas State University and Stanford University in choosing EYE-SYNC.
The system now has FDA clearance for assessing “ocular-motor synchronization” and is HIPAA-compliant to protect subject’s data. Not only is this system likely to help identify head injuries faster and with more accuracy, but it will could also become a source of objective data that could further our understanding the link between head impacts and concussions.