I read an article today about a new device that has been designed to detect concussions. The device is similar to the radar gun used by police to catch speeding motorists. This "radar gun" detects minute changes in gait and thereby diagnoses a concussion. Hmmmmmmm.
I have raised eyebrows about this device and its use in athletics, particularly Texas high school football. From the article, "A high school football coach, for example, may want to err on the side of caution, even if it means more athletes will be sidelined to reduce the possibility of a second concussion." I don't know what high school football coaches they are talking to, but it's not any of the coaches I know or that our team plays against. The last thing in the world any coach (or athlete or the athlete's parents) want is for MORE kids to be sidelined---especially when the device admits to having a percentage (it didn't enumerate the percentage) of false positives. Taking the best athletes off the field reduces victories---possibly costing a coach his job and possibly costing the athlete scholarship opportunities. At least in Texas, this is NOT going to be popular amongst anyone connected with high school football.
I don't believe the NFL is going to be any more enthusiastic about sidelining multi-million dollar athletes---or any of the professional sports. The device is also supposedly for use by the military on the battlefield----REALLY??? Your enemy is trying to kill you with all the high-tech weapons of the 21st century and you're going to be worried about whether or not you have a concussion?
Here is the bottom line problem: NO ONE WANTS TO STOP PLAYING! That's it! We don't want a device to tell us we're hurt--believe me, the player knows if he can't remember his middle name or his zip code. We want something to help us be well, play more and not suffer lingering effects of injury decades past the occurrence. THAT is what players, families, coaches and fans want. Could someone email these (and other) university researchers and let them in on that?
Perhaps someone could remind the medical community that sitting on the bench after a concussion DOES NOT improve or alleviate the symptoms of the injury you have ALREADY suffered? This mentality is still screaming out the old medical mantra that brains cannot be helped, healed or improved. Concussions are permanent injuries and will affect you for the rest of your life, so you better avoid them as the best measure of care, according to the marketers of these "concussion detection" devices.
Please don't get me wrong---I think we should do everything in our power to protect our brains. I like the rules prohibiting blows to the head, hitting a receiver in a defenseless position, and grabbing the face mask in the NFL. Those are good and I want to see that yellow flag fly and see flagrant offenders suspended.
But can we please start doing things to help these athletes, soldiers, and other traumatic brain injury victims recover? We have the technology and the means. We have hyperbaric oxygen chambers that go unused except for the narrow 13 FDA-approved conditions (think wound healing and burns). Hyperbaric oxygen (hbot) has become so well-known amongst professional athletes that many of them have their own chambers. The research is solid and the results are sure---but the politics of the FDA and the UHMS (Undersea Hyperbaric Medicine Society) have battled for decades to prevent the use of hbot for neurological indications. Why would the FDA and the UHMS want to prevent this? One thing---money. They should be ashamed and held accountable for the ongoing preventable suffering at their hand.
There are many excellent techniques that are helping neurological injuries heal and also improving function in the brains of octogenarians. Reflex re-patterning (masgutovamethod.com), energy medicine, neurodevelopmental programs (parentswithpurpose.com and familyhopecenter.org), respiratory stimulation techniques, and many others. THIS is what players, coaches and fans want---the way to HEAL the brain and to strengthen neural connections (brain reserve) so there are extra pathways for neurological function.
The information I have regarding the concussion detection devices didn't mention the cost. It also didn't figure the cost of the long-term effects if they go untreated. (And by the way, what is the current treatment from your doctor? Rest---not a very aggressive treatment plan!) I would be willing to match those costs against the cost of good treatment using some of the techniques listed above. I can only imagine how much money would be saved and how much heartache would be avoided. Seems like THAT is what the researchers should be spending their time on, doesn't it?