What is HeadCheck?
Science in Common Terms
Up to 3.8-million cases of sports related head trauma will occur this year in North America alone. The actual number is likely much larger due to issues with identification, underreporting by athletes, or improper evaluations by medical professionals.
Because concussions are a type of brain injury, tests used to evaluate them are generally directed towards quantifying and identifying abnormalities in brain function. Since the human brain is involved in so many different processes in the body, there is a large variety of functions clinicians may choose to target.
Standardized concussion evaluation protocols used by major sporting organizations such as the NFL, NCAA, or FIFA employ a multi-faceted approach to concussion evaluation that incorporate a number of different tests. This comprehensive method is currently recommended as no single test alone can reliably diagnose concussion. The three most highly recommended areas of brain functioning to target are: symptoms, neurocognitive testing, and balance assessment. The value of test results are amplified further when there are baseline, or pre-injury, scores to compare to.
Human standing balance is incorporated into leading concussion identification and management protocols because it is an important unbiased indicator of concussion severity. The current gold standard for balance assessment, The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), employs a human-judgement based scoring method. This method quantifies balance by the evaluator visually counting the number of “errors” an athlete makes during the test. However, because this method involves human judgement, scores have been shown to vary between and even within evaluators assessing the same athlete twice. Unreliable quantification of balance by the BESS may lead to inappropriate medical decisions, such as allowing a concussed athlete to return-to-play. The permanent or fatal consequences associated with sustaining subsequent concussive injuries before resolution of the first underscores the need for more reliable balance quantification methods.
HeadCheck Health has been developing a highly sensitive wireless headband to eliminate the ambiguity of human-judgement by computing accurate, objective, and reliable balance scores. The goal is to determine the test results based on an athlete’s actual movements during a balance test, and not the evaluator’s judgement – no matter who is using the app. This novel method, in addition to the other testing areas involved in a comprehensive evaluation of concussion, make HeadCheck a simple and powerful tool for your team to identify and manage concussive injuries.