A Maryland high school senior is working to develop software that could help detect brain injuries, four years after experiencing a severe concussion himself.
In eighth grade, Urbana High senior Eric Solender suffered a severe concussion while attempting to rebound a shot during a basketball practice. While at first the symptoms, such as headaches and light sensitivity, seemed normal for a mild concussion, they persisted for months.
Eventually Solender was required to undergo extensive treatment at Children’s National Medical Center, keeping Eric from returning to school full-time for a year.
As his dad said, “It was horrible. You don’t want to see your child going through that kind of agony.
Now, in what started out as a project for a computer science class, Eric is using a Microsoft Kinect to develop software to help diagnose brain injuries. Using the motion sensing input abilities of the Kinect, Eric’s application can measure motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination and reaction time, which could potentially be used to diagnose concussions on site.
“It’s more than just a project to me,” he told NBC4 Washington. “It’s a way that I can kind of give back, because I genuinely feel that the doctors at Children’s saved my life.”
Solender has some high-quality assistance on his side as well. The same doctors who helped him with his recovery four years ago are providing input on the project. Solender hopes the software can eventually be FDA-approved so that children and athletes can be assessed and seek treatment faster.