New UM App Tracks Concussion Recovery

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Return2Play

ANN ARBOR — A new mobile phone app, the first of its kind, helps concussion patients track their activities and symptoms, and share that information with their healthcare team. The app from the University of Michigan, is called Return2Play.

The app, available for 99 cents, is designed for iPhone and available for download on iTunes. Users can enter the date and details of injuries in Return2Play. As the athlete progresses through recovery, under the direction of a physician, he or she can enter activities, symptoms and their severity, and notes along the way.

Users can enter appointment dates and take notes right in the app. Return2Play also allows users to e-mail a recovery progress history in chronological order to a physician, trainer or coach.

The app was developed by experts from the U-M Pediatric Trauma Program in partnership with Michigan NeuroSport.

“Return2Play was designed with the patient and healthcare team in mind. Our goal is to create a more efficient clinic appointment that leads to better management of the injury and safe return to play decisions,” says Amy Teddy, injury prevention program manager at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “This allows for a more streamlined, efficient clinic visit by eliminating the need for recollection of the injury details, signs and symptoms. It also provides a learning section that provides quick access to education and tips about concussion.” 

It is just one of the ways that UM is bringing concussion tools to patients, coaches and parents alike, Teddy says, adding that recovery from a concussion takes time. Concussion recovery varies by person and incident.

Concussion injuries to young athletes have spurred state governments, schools and athletic associations to encourage more training for coaches, parents and the athletes themselves.

In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign a new law today that would require the development of educational materials and training for athletes, parents and coaches on sports-related concussions. The legislation also would require coaches to immediately remove athletes suspected of having concussions from play and let them return only after getting a health professional’s written approval.

Pamella J. Mitchell, the parent of a young athlete, says the app was very helpful. Mitchell’s son, Troy, is the quarterback for Farmington High School in southeastern Michigan. This fall, he was tackled and hit his head on the ground. After experiencing dizziness, headaches and sensitivity to noise and light, he ended up visiting Michigan NeuroSport for treatment.

“Troy logged his symptoms and activities into the app. And I loved the learning element, the warning signs and symptoms and the BRAIN return to play protocol,” Mitchell says.

Mitchell says she also liked having the ability to e-mail the symptoms to a doctor or coach of her choice. She says since trying it, she’s informed other parents about the app and Michigan NeuroSport. The Pediatric Trauma Program at Mott Children’s Hospital and Michigan NeuroSport also created a series of free online educational courses for coaches and parents.

For school year 2012-2013, the Michigan High School Athletic Association required online rules meetings for coaches and officials to include the Michigan NeuroSport Concussion Education High School Coach Edition illustrating the serious nature of concussion,; recognition of the signs and symptoms and a review of return to play protocols.

“Here at UM and Michigan NeuroSport, we know education is crucial and there’s a real team effort needed to recognize and react to sports-related concussions. The new app is our attempt to enhance the clinical experience by tracking the important details of concussion recovery that will lead to better management of this injury. Proper recovery involves a step-by-step gradual process. We hope to raise awareness of that process through the use of this app,” says Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., associate professor of neurology and the director of Michigan NeuroSport.

The Michigan NeuroSport Concussion Education online training modules for parents and coaches are available at at http://www.MichiganNeuroSport.com  These 20-minute courses are free, with the opportunity to obtain a certificate of completion

Michigan NeuroSport has also produced a 60-second public service announcement in which one of the state’s all-time winningest football coaches – John Herrington of Farmington Hills Harrison – talks about concussions.  This video, along with a 30-second PSA recently updated by the MHSAA, “No Such Thing As Just Getting Your Bell Rung,” will be made available to media outlets in time for the coming sports season and will be shown during MHSAA programming online and on cable television.

Funding for the development of this concussion recovery app has been provided by the University of Michigan Health System Fostering Innovative Grants Program (FIGS). Profits from the sale of this app will be shared between the Health System, the  Pediatric Trauma Program, and the inventor.

The new app was developed by Chelsea-based TorranceLearning.

Visit the iTunes App store to download the Return2Play App.

More at www.med.umich.edu

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