Players in the B.C. Hockey League will now have their concussions assessed more quickly, thanks to a new partnership with app HeadCheck.
The adoption of the new system comes on the heels of a concussion controversy that has engulfed major leaguesports. The NHL and the NFL have both both found themselves fighting accusations that they’re not doing enough to keep players safe.
Starting with the 2017/18 season, all 17 BCHL teams will use HeadCheck to do baseline, post-injury and return-to-play tests. The app is available on both Apple and Android.
“Player safety is of utmost importance to the BCHL,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “Our athletic therapists will now have instant access to a reliable concussion assessment tool during practices and games in order to make appropriate sideline medical decisions. The HeadCheck app will also assist the league with monitoring and tracking league-wide concussion protocol compliance.”
At the recent Northern Hockey School, coach Isaac Davies said that while there are a number different apps available, none were perfect. In the process of completing his training as a physiotherapist, he said that even with imaging such as an MRI, many concussions are very difficult to diagnose. “It’s an injury that you can’t see, so it’s hard to be sure,” he said.
Davies explained that unlike other injuries where there might be blood or a break, concussions are inside the brain and therefore imperceptible.
In addition, some concussions might be not be caused by a blow to the head, as most are considered to be. As few as 10 percent of sports related concussions in children are associated with unconsciousness. As a result, these participants might not take appropriate measures to deal with a possible concussion.
He explained that there might be a whiplash effect in the body at times from a blow to the body or a fall. Since the brain might move around inside the skull, a concussion could result from such an incident. In such cases, since there may have been no contact with the head, a possible concussion might not be considered.
Backed by evidence-based science, the technology tracks overall concussion health of athletes and provides instant comparison to past test performance. The system enables sports teams to use gold standard concussion tests, but is quicker to use than traditional paper assessments and can be run from any location within minutes. HeadCheck measures a number of key identifiers of a concussion – including symptoms, balance, motor coordination, vision and neurocognitive function. This allows medical professionals such as athletic trainers and doctors to make informed data-driven sideline decisions, limiting the mismanagement of athletes who are unfit to return to play. All data is time-stamped and securely stored for convenient 24/7 access. The data can follow the athlete to all future sports, providing a picture of risk management through historical data and trend analytics.