Sports related concussion: An emerging era in digital sports technology

Dylan Powell, Samuel Stuart, Alan Godfrey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Sports-Related Concussion (SRC) is defined as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) leading to complex impairment(s) in neurological function with many seemingly hidden or difficult to measure impairments that can deteriorate rapidly without any prior indication. Growing numbers of SRCs in professional and amateur contact sports has prompted closer dialogue regarding player safety and welfare. Greater emphasis on awareness and education has improved SRC management, but also highlighted the difficulties of diagnosing SRC in a timely manner, particularly during matches or immediately after competition. Therefore, challenges exist in off field assessment and return to play (RTP) protocols, with current traditional (subjective) approaches largely based on infrequent snapshot assessments.
Low-cost digital technologies may provide more objective, integrated and personalized SRC assessment to better inform RTP protocols whilst also enhancing the efficiency and precision of healthcare assessment. To fully realize the potential of digital technologies in the diagnosis and management of SRC will require a significant paradigm shift in clinical practice and mindset. Here, we provide insights into SRC clinical assessment methods and the translational utility of digital approaches, with a focus on off field digital techniques to detect key SRC metrics/biomarkers. We also provide insights and recommendations to the common benefits and challenges facing digital approaches as they aim to transition from novel technologies to an efficient, valid, reliable, and integrated clinical assessment tool for SRC. Finally, we highlight future opportunities that digital approaches have in SRC assessment and management including digital twinning and the ‘digital athlete’.
Original languageEnglish
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Sep 2021

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