Almost everyone has hit or hurt their head at some point in their life and wondered “is this serious? Should I see a doctor?” Without a visible injury to see and examine, it is hard to know how serious a brain injury is and how to treat it.
Studies on brain injury and concussion coming out of Australia demonstrate that very few people know what to do when they receive an injury to the head. In many instances, professional athletes will ignore the invisible injury and return to play either within the same game or within the week. Worse, trainers and coaches are unaware of how to treat head injuries when they occur and often see no issue with their players returning to play without following head injury guidelines.
The Smartphone App:
To curb this trend, organizations have come together to create HeadCheck, a smartphone application designed to help people recognize the signs and symptoms of concussion. The application takes its user through a series of questions to assess whether the subject has a concussion. While there are so many health-focused applications floating around, many people may toss HeadCheck and other concussion recognition applications in the bin along with them. To take the extra step and check someone for the signs of a concussion takes only five minutes and could mean saving someone from permanent brain damage. If left untreated and ignored, even the mildest of concussions often worsen in severity and require greater attention.
The advantage of an App:
The advantage of concussion assessment through a smartphone app is that the software allows for up-to-date assessment. As the information on concussions expands and the guidelines change, the software can be more easily updated than a distributed pocket-sized book.
Canadian Smartphone APP’s:
While HeadCheck is restricted to the Australian population, Canada has their own concussion applications available. Apple applications available in Canada are “Concussion Quick Check,” “MedZam Concussion Assessment,” and “Concussion Assessment.” Android applications available in Canada are “Concussion Recognition & Response,” “Concussion Awareness” sponsored by Hockey Night in Canada, and “CDC HEADS UP.”
Hopefully the trend in producing user-friendly tools for recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussions and brain injuries will lead to a more aware community that will take advantage of the information available and take five minutes to assess the head when an accident occurs.
Source: Davis, G. A., Thurairatnam, S., Feleggakis, P., Anderson, V., Bressan, S., & Babl, F. E. (2015). HeadCheck: A concussion app. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 51(8), 830-831. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
Apple: Concussion Quick Check
Apple: MedZam Concussion Assessment
Apple: Concussion Assessment
Android: Concussion Recognition & Response
Android: CDC HEADS UP
Android: Concussion Awareness