*Hopin Lee, Osman H. Ahmed, Arun P. Balasundaram, Paul R. McCrory, Willem G. Meeuwisse, Anthony H, Schneiders, S. John Sullivan, David Williams
University of Otago
Poster Presentation – Research Track
Sunday, Sept 30, 2012: 11:25 PM – 12:25 PM – LK Lower Lobby
Concussions arising from participation in sports are a major public health concern as these injuries to the brain have both short- and long-term consequences. Early recognition by healthcare professionals including athletic trainers, doctors and physical therapists is essential to ensure successful management and safe return-to-play. Although universally recognised tools such as the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 are commonly used by healthcare professionals for the assessment of the concussed athlete, these tools are not targeted to the parents of youth sports participants, who also have a key role in the recognition of a sports concussion. There are a number of concussion awareness programs and resources available to assist parents in understanding the signs (e.g. loss of balance) and symptoms (e.g. headaches, dizziness and nausea) associated with a concussion. The emergence of mobile technologies and apps provides an opportunity to assist the wider public in the early recognition and the assessment of sports concussions. The purpose of this study was to identify and review apps related to the assessment of sports concussions which were specifically targeted towards the parents’ of youth sport participants.
A systematic search strategy was used to identify apps currently available to the public on the major mobile platforms using the key words “concussion” OR “mild traumatic brain injury”. Apps were included in the study if they were produced in English and designed to be used in the recognition/assessment of a sports concussion by parents. Data were extracted in a systematic manner and independently verified by members of the research team prior to reaching a consensus. Information retrieved included: the price of the app, its size, online sharing capabilities, whether the content of the apps adhered to best-practice guidelines and if it provided reference to supporting literature.
From an initial pool of 139 apps identified by the search, six apps were targeted at parents and met the inclusion criteria. They ranged in price from free to $44.99 (US) and had an average size of 5.1MB (range: 0.3 to 9.8). Two apps were concurrently available from both iTunes and Google play stores while four were exclusive to the iTunes store. The majority (5/6) of the apps incorporated information regarding key signs and symptoms of a concussion, albeit in different formats. Similarly 5/6 of apps provided reference to supporting literature to justify the information provided and 5/6 indicated the importance of seeking medical attention when a concussion is suspected. Three of the six apps allowed users to share the test results via email, 1 via either email, Facebook or Twitter and 1 via the app’s online system. One app did not provide any sharing capabilities.
This preliminary investigation indicated that the reviewed apps highlighted the need for an individual with a suspected concussion to seek medical attention and identified the underpinning research. The use of these apps and has the potential to increase parental involvement in the recognition of the young athlete with a sports concussion.