Quickly identifying a brain injury after a hard hit to the head is one of the biggest indicators of how a patient will fare through injury management and treatment. For athletes and their coaches, diagnosing a concussion within minutes and keeping a player off the field can be a matter of life or death. However, the tools we currently have to help diagnose brain injuries is limited. Chase Curtiss, founder of Tulsa-based Sway Medical LLC, wants to help change that.
When a player undergoes a heavy hit, coaches and medical staff put athletes through tests to attempt to identify any brain injury. They range from memory and balance tests, to computerized testing that compares results to a precompleted baseline test, the most popular of which is known as the ImPACT test.
“Coaches conduct balance tests, but there’s not an objective way to measure their results,” Curtiss told the Tulsa World. “They just have to observe and use their judgment.”
Sway LLC’s solution to that problem is an app called Sway Balance, a tool released last week which measures balance precisely with the use of the accelerometers in an iPhone, and can be compared to pre-game baseline tests to increase accuracy.
ImPACT, the makers of the ImPACT test which is used by the NFL, MLB, NHL, World Wrestling Federation, and thousands of schools and universities, also plans to work with Sway LLC to integrate their product into their own application. For now the company will strongly encourage clients to use Sway Balance, but eventually they hope for full integration into their app.
“When I found out about Sway, I called Chase up and told him this could be a natural marriage,” said the co-founder of ImPACT, Mark Lovell.
Sway was approved by FDA in June, making it the first app to gain FDA approval without any required physical attachment.