A new research program has been created at Surrey Memorial Hospital to develop a tool that determines if a hit to the head is a concussion or not. The goal is to “create something as easy to use as a home blood pressure cuff to take a quick reading of your brain’s functional status, so you know if you’ve got a concussion.”
Neuroscientist Ryan D’Arcy is hoping to convert his Halifax Concussion Scanner into a portable diagnostic brain scanner for hockey rinks and hospitals. The scanner provides real-time information of brain wave patterns to assess and detect mental function.
“We are looking at the brain in action,” says D’Arcy, “and we want to create deployable devices that can go to people wherever they are needed, any time, any place.” This tool will assist coaches, parents, doctors, and athletes in assessing in real-time whether a player displays evidence of a concussion.
The device takes a non-invasive scan of a player’s brain. A pre-season scan of the brain under normal conditions would be the measure that any post-injury scans could be compared to. Unlike other pre-season scans that use cognitive tests, this device prevents the athlete from cheating on a test to avoid being taken out of the game.
This technology will provide the diagnostic confidence to allow the player to return to play or immediately be taken off for further observation. This instant on-field feedback will allow for improved treatment and recovery.