Partnership to test for concussion

La Trobe University researchers are working with Australian sports science company Levin Health to test a portable concussion management device.

The research team, led by Professor Peter Brukner OAM, is undertaking a clinical trial on an eye-tracking concussion management tool, to assess the device’s efficacy in measuring concussion in sport.

Professor Brukner said head injury in sport was the most pressing medical issue in contact sports, but unfortunately there was no universally accepted objective means to measure concussion.

“Concussion is currently diagnosed by a standardised set of tests, many of which are subjective in nature. One of the important components of concussion is damage to the vestibular and oculomotor system and the Neurolign eye tracking device is designed specifically to assess this system. Our work with Levin will assess whether this eye-tracking technology is able to contribute to the diagnosis and management of concussion.”

Professor Brukner stated that he hoped eventually such technology would be available to be used on the sidelines to assess whether an athlete was fit to continue playing.

LEVIN Health Managing Director Mark Brayshaw believes the technology is a game changer.

“Right now, there’s a great deal of interest in Concussion diagnosis in professional and amateur sport – and rightly so. We believe Neurolign’s technology is ahead of the pack and, importantly, is functional on the ground from the standpoint of the clubs, their doctors and athletes.”

He said, NETT offered a battery of oculomotor, vestibular, reaction time and cognitive tests to determine the extent of concussion and aid in recovery.

The portable device comprised a set of goggles and had integrated clinical eye-tracking and digital display. Used in conjunction with a laptop, it could be used for quick on-site set-up and timely injury assessment.

Mr Brayshaw said, “tracking a player’s ocular and vestibular data from entry into the system through to retirement and beyond will provide valuable insights to be able to manage risk and set strategy, including rules and protocols.”

LEVIN Health will create a normative baseline data set for elite athletes as well as a normative data set for recreational athletes when an individual’s baseline data is not available.

The research team will develop two specific tests protocols relating to sport: A diagnostic protocol to be used on match days to diagnose concussion/mTBI, as well as a recovery protocol to be used to monitor and track the recovery phase and guide the treatment team.

LEVIN Health and the University are also working on the development of an iPhone model to roll out to community sport and training facilities that will give conservative ruling to withdraw a player from a match or training session advising they seek treatment from a doctor.

THE NETT device has the potential to take the guesswork from concussion diagnoses and make life easier for sports doctors and safer for athletes.

Media Contact: Madeline Walker | | 0403 414 248