Published by Soccer Parenting Association - April 3, 2019/ BODY/ By Skye Eddy Bruce
Note: Soccer Parenting is not being compensated in any capacity for this article.
A new technology that is FDA cleared and developed to help medical professionals assess potential concussions during a game or event has been developed. This new technology will help medical professionals, coaches and parents make informed return to play decisions during games or practices.
When looking at athletes in all sports, female soccer players have the highest risk of suffering a concussion. Studies have shown that most of these events are caused by whiplash of the head on a rotational plane, or by their head making contact with the ground. Meanwhile male athletes appear to sustain concussions more often through head-to-head contact.
Sway Medical has developed a FDA cleared device that aids medical professionals in concussion assessment and in the return to play (or return to learn) decision. It does this by putting a safety coach - which is a volunteer parent or coach - through an online training program, teaching them to administer a baseline test with their cell phone and to recognize an event and re-test the athlete on the sideline if a suspected concussion occurs during a game. A telemedicine provider promptly evaluates the data collected by the safety coach and responds within minutes with his or her medical opinion. This valuable information obtained from a medical professional - in real-time - helps to ensure the well-being of the athlete.
According to Physical Therapist Holly Thompson, "We have partnered with a few large soccer teams in town, and we’ve set up a Baseline data session that we do where we are able to show parents their balance and reaction time. They are very appreciative that someone is watching out for their kid, and that they have that initial data. If something happens, they call and we have that ready to go - they are educated on it, and it helps parents recognize that it’s very important to deal with the issues and not to ignore them.”
Sway is used in Professional Sports as well as at Universities like Duke and Boston College. The two tests Sway uses to help assess potential concussions are balance and reaction time, which studies have shown are critical in the return to play decision-making process. Sway provides this data using the technology already available in every mobile device.
Instead of a long baseline test administered in a classroom, Sway uses a more convenient 3-4 minute test on the sideline, in the athletic training room, or in a clinic. They have patented mobile balance testing and reaction time testing and have three different cognitive assessments to use for return to play.
Interested in learning more or putting Sway into use with your team or club?