Knoxville sees groundbreaking way to treat concussions
UT Medical Center uses new eye box technology.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -For years, concussion protocol came in the form of an athlete being asked to follow a coach or trainers finger on a sideline. With the help of one University of Tennessee Medical Center doctor, and another innovator with an idea, the two were able to help create a new system.
Doctor Todd Abel and Mark Slaughter came up with the idea to take all of the new technology that’s recently become available, and turn it into one cohesive system to treat concussions.
“It really struck me that it’s very random some areas have good protocols, others don’t have any at all,” said Abel.
With the help of a newly FDA approved eye box, doctors are now able to take a closer look at how the eyes react to movement, light, and how they overall respond following a concussion. Slaughter and Abel said the hope is for athletes to have an eye scan when they are fully healthy, so that if there is an injury they can compare how the brain is responding.
The eye box tests would take place in a doctors office most likely, but as for the sidelines, there’s now a new way to help test head injuries as well.
Through the Sway app Abel said, “a non-medical person can do a rough assessment for a concussion”.
An athlete holds a phone with the app open against their chest and performs a series of balance and cognitive tests. This will determine if someone has a concussion, and if they should get further screening like the eye box. The test takes less than four minutes to complete.
According to Slaughter, a Knoxville club soccer team will become the first athletic team to get the eye box screening in the country.
Going forward, Abel and Slaughter hope to develop a concussion registry where they can track data long-term to best treat patients.
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