Wearable sensing and mobile devices: the future of post-concussion monitoring?

Written by Johnston W, Doherty C, Büttner FC, Caulfield B

In the past decade, concussion has received large amounts of attention in public, medical and research circles. While our understanding of the nature and management of concussion has greatly improved, there are still major limitations which need to be addressed surrounding the identification of the injury, determining when an individual is safe to return to normal activity, and what factors may contribute to the development of post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
The current model of concussion management involves a triage evaluation in the acute stage of injury, focusing on the classic signs and symptoms of concussion. Next, the clinician attempts to evaluate key components of cerebral function through clinical symptom evaluation, and traditional assessments of motor and neurocognitive function [1]. The development of the sports concussion assessment tool saw a massive leap forward in the strategies employed in the management of concussion, as it acknowledged the multi-factorial nature of concussion, and provided a standardized means for clinicians to assess the many domains of cerebral function [2]. While these methods have demonstrated some promise in the acute stage, they are not designed for serial monitoring (particularly in instances where PCS develops) [3], and provide us with very little clinically relevant information that can assist clinicians in the return to learn/sport/performance process.

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  1. Concussion