Theworld has been searching for an answer to the for years. The sport has tried everything from new rules, to new high-tech helmets, with varying degrees of success in the reduction of the frequency and severity of head injuries players suffer.
While reducing concussions is the main goal, betteris a part of the process, too. Spotters and independent sideline physicians have been introduced to sidelines at college and NFL games in recent years to try and identify players who may have been concussed during the run of play, but there are still times when standard concussion tests don’t catch a player who’s been concussed. At Stanford University, the football program has adopted a new technology that could help change the game in terms of diagnosing concussions.
The technology is called Eye-Sync, from the company SyncThink and it is the brainchild of neurosurgeon Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center and a president of the Brain Trauma Foundation, CBS San Francisco reports. Eye-Sync is a portable VR headset that, through an objective test of the athlete’s eyes, can help sports medicine professionals determine whether an athlete needs to be removed from play within a minute.
It works on the basis of eye-tracking. Ghajar explains that when your brain is functioning correctly, your eyes are not just providing vision, they’re also helping you to synchronize with your surrounding environment. This process is what allows you to swing and connect with a tennis ball in one smooth process as opposed to waiting for your eyes to diagnose where the ball is and then starting your swing. When you take a hit to the head, that process can be interrupted. That’s where Eye-Sync comes in.
“Basically, people feel out of sync, their timing is off because they’re unable to predict when things are going to happen,” Ghajar said in a phone interview. “That’s really dangerous, because…