Though the ImPACT test has been used by the NFL for the past few years, the NFL hasn’t been able to implement the use of an objective testing method for traumatic brain injury on the sidelines. In the coming season, it appears that will change.
As NFL.com announced, the league will begin using iPads and a special app to help team doctors immediately diagnose head injury from the sidelines. The app works similarly to the ImPACT test, as players take a baseline test at the beginning of the season, and tested after any possible brain injury, but the app makes professionals able to make better informed decisions immediately. The player’s baseline results are uploaded to the app so that they can be tested as soon as an injury occurs, and have that data compared to their baseline results. A significant discrepancy suggests TBI.
In the past, players had to be pulled from the game and taken to testing, or much more often, tested after the game. Depending on their answers to team doctors after a possible injury, it is possible the player could have returned to the field for another quarter before being properly tested.
The app isn’t the first by any means, and still can’t remove the need for subjective observational tests by professionals, but it standardizes much of the sideline testing for the NFL.