It seems that there’s an app for everything these days – from personal finance to dieting, directions, games, you name it. Well now, there is even an app available to coaches, athletic trainers and parents who have players on the field to rule out concussion. A concussion can be very serious, resulting in permanent brain damage or possibly even death depending on severity and treatment of the concussion.
In fact, concussions are rightly now being taken so seriously that just last month the NC House passed the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act 113-0. The bill, which is named for two North Carolina high school football players who died from brain injuries sustained while playing football, focuses on concussion education, signs and symptom identification, emergency action planning, and record-keeping. It is now awaiting Senate consideration.
Ideally, the best case scenario is to have trained personnel available at the games; however, at many levels of competition, teams simply do not have the funding for this kind of support. The new concussion app developed by Pediatric Neuropsychologist Gerard Gioia at Children’s National Medical Center is a valuable tool for the coaches and parents on the field with the players. The app, which can be downloaded to any iPhone, Android or Tablet for $3.99, provides some on the spot guidance and even alerts emergency systems with the touch of a button.
The key to concussion management is to monitor symptoms and respond accordingly. The app is a good tool to guide coaches, trainers and parents through a series of questions and answers that result in a recommendation. This recommendation may be to simply sit it out, or to seek medical care. Positively, the app also addresses one of the biggest obstacles for players, parents and coaches – the need for mental and physical rest.
When everyone is operating with the safety and best interest of the player as their first priority, we are sure to make positive strides in the management of athletes with concussions. You can purchase the app through the Apple store and Android Market.
Janis V. McLaughlin, PT and Manager of WakeMed Outpatient Rehab and WakeMed Concussion Clinic