Concussions impact 1.7 million to 3+ million people per year. Athletes are at a higher risk of concussion than non-athletes, but even a slip and fall can lead to a traumatic brain injury. Tech companies are trying to use technology to speed up concussion recovery.
Ohio State University worked with one head trauma sufferer to create a mobile health app that would improve head trauma recovery.
“Frontal and temporal areas of the brain are the main areas involved in serious car accidents – which often cause immediate complaints like forgetfulness, concentration issues, stuttering, memory loss, headaches, dizziness, cognitive impairment, and neuropsychiatric symptoms like anxiety, irritability, depression, PTSD and sleep disorders,” explains Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers.
SuperBetter app was developed to help enhance recovery in a variety of ways. The app may help doctors think differently about using technology to overcome concussions.
CDC Recommendations: No Computer or Game Usage
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long recommended that a person recovering from a concussion should curb their video game and computer usage. Long hours playing games or staring at the screen can often lead to dizziness.
But SuperBetter is different.
The app takes a new approach to concussions, creating a social-game mechanic and a heroic narrative for users. The app is suggested to improve health in teenagers who have been struggling to recover from a concussion.
Ohio State tested the app on 19 teenagers who followed standard concussion protocols after their head injuries. The teenagers all had symptoms after three weeks, and about half of the group used the SuperBetter app to help aid in recovery.
The group using the app was able to log all of their symptoms, and symptoms are the game’s bad guys. A teen would have to face bad guys that may include:
The app incorporates “power ups” which help teach the teens about concussions and how to best deal with symptoms. The app will recommend that a person get more sleep or even wear sunglasses because bright light is known to exasperate symptoms.
Users of the app could also add allies and play with others.
Developers chose to incorporate bad guys based off of symptoms to help players find a new narrative that is more positive than saying: “I don’t feel good.” Researchers found that through the app’s recommendations and changing of the narrative, teens were able to recover faster from their concussions.
The app is combined with traditional care to provide better outcomes for youths who have unresolved concussion symptoms.
Researchers claim that the app is the first step in using technology to battle concussions. While screen and phone usage were once not recommended for concussion sufferers, it may be a way to augment traditional concussion care.
Additional studies are needed to determine the efficacy of using apps in long-term concussion sufferers.
With concussions on the rise, researchers are turning to technology to help prevent concussions, through big data analysis, and also how best to use technology to improve the outcome of people who suffer with concussion symptoms.