TBI and Technology: Diagnosing the Initial Injury with a Smartphone

When head injuries occur in youth sports, there isn’t a doctor waiting at the sidelines for the next mild TBI case to happen. Players often feel the need to get back in the game and “man up,” as long as there is no visible damage after a tough hit; they’re young and looking to do well on the playing field. As for coaches, they can easily listen to a player repeat the phrase, “I’m fine,” time and time again, but they might not know if the player has suffered a serious injury or not. With the rise in popularity of smartphones in the past few years, it’s becoming easier for parents and coaches to identify the signs of mild TBI in players.

From just doing a simple search, there are numerous applications for all types of smartphones out there in relation to recognizing the signs of TBI. Some of the free applications include a mood tracker that can record TBI-like symptoms that you can bring to show your doctor. Additionally, you can rate the severity of the each symptom associated. That application then lets you know whether it is necessary to seek emergency care. From there it gives you the option to send your location to a dispatcher, call 911, or find the nearest hospital. Other applications give overviews on the basics of TBI, which are essentially simple pocket guides to educate yourself on the injury. There are also applications with tips on primary prevention of TBIs and educational quizzes to help you find out little-known facts about the condition.

Smartphones are the next tool for parents and coaches for helping their children from getting a TBI. You don’t need to be a medical doctor to use one, but they can serve as a branch between the patient and the physician in order to better identify TBI in youth athletes sooner than ever before.

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