The use of eye tracking to diagnose a concussion

A Missouri football player might want to get back into a game quickly after a minor head injury. However, the protocols for dealing with concussions can interfere with this desire. A new technology for tracking eye movement could provide prompt feedback about concussions in such a situation, allowing players to resume action more quickly if everything appears to be fine.

The technology in question was developed by a neurosurgeon, who notes that the device does not actually diagnose a concussion. Rather, it is used to evaluate the eye movements of an individual who has possibly suffered a traumatic brain injury. A patient looks into the device and follows the path of a dot as it moves. Problems may exist if a patient cannot follow the path well. If a patient’s eyes incorrectly predict the path and jump ahead of the dot, for example, there may be a visual disruption that reflects a serious concussion. The device could also be used to evaluate recovery after serious head injury if an individual initially demonstrates serious visual disruption.

The developer of the device notes that there are questions about the definition of a concussion and the best means of diagnosing it. However, he is working toward a clear diagnostic standard that will facilitate rating of technologies to be used in evaluating the outcome after a head trauma. Additionally, there are efforts underway to better define the treatment when an individual has suffered a concussion.

Although there is a risk of head injury in certain types of sporting activities, there are many other situations in which a TBI can occur. These can range from a slip and fall on a wet supermarket floor to an automobile accident, and when the injury is attributable to another party’s negligence, having legal help in seeking compensation may be advisable.