As the new school year fast approaches many parents worry about their children’s sports injuries and the costs of going to the emergency room to check for concussions. A group of doctors and researchers at the University of Michigan have come up with a new, inexpensive technique for checking for concussions that will save parents a trip to the emergency room.
This article by The New York Times states that not every head injury results in a concussion. Doctors at the University of Michigan say that there are key things that coaches and parents can look for to decipher on their own whether a child has a concussion. The most important thing they should analyze is the player’s reaction time according to the doctor who authored this new, inexpensive device for checking for concussions.
The doctor and his team created a specific tool that analyzes the player’s reaction time. The tool consists of a hockey puck attached to a long wooden dowel using adhesive. Then along the dowel centimeters can be marked using ink. The study shows that to use the device an evaluator (such as a coach) stands in front of the athlete while holding it. The athlete should be seated at a table with one arm on the table and his hand at the table’s edge.
Next the evaluator aligns the puck with the bottom of the athlete’s hand and lets go. The athlete in return catches the falling stick and the evaluator marks where the athlete’s hands fell in accordance with the centimeter marks. This gives the coach or trainer a baseline of the athlete’s reaction time according to the doctor. A player’s reaction time is known to increase immediately after a concussion.
The doctors who created this device have tested it to no avail to ensure that it is accurate; even they were surprised with how consistent their results were. The Times expounds on the greatness of this tool which costs less than five dollars to make. The study shows that this simple device can save parents an expensive trip to the emergency room where kids would be subjected to tests that can cost thousands.