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NFL turning to Apple's iPad to diagnose concussions during 2013-14 season

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
On the heels of a season rife with concussion-related headlines and concerns, the National Football League next year said it plans to adopt Apple's iPad for on-field diagnoses of players' conditions immediately following big time hits and collisions.

football hit
NFL concussions will, in the future, be treated in part using an iPad app. Image via Locker Smash


The NFL will be providing each team with an iPad application designed to help teams diagnose whether one of their players has suffered concussion almost immediately following impact, ESPN reported on Saturday. League officials demonstrated the app and a new diagnosis system at the league's annual scouting combine in Indianapolis on Friday, showing how team doctors could employ the technology on the sidelines.

Prior to the start of the season, and at different intervals throughout the season, the system will be used on players to perform a number of tests in order to establish a baseline score. In the event of a possible concussion, team doctors will use the app to evaluate players, and the app will compare their post-hit results against their established baselines. A large discrepancy could indicate that the player has suffered a concussion, and the protocols for such an injury would go into effect.

Concussions stemming from America's most popular televised sport rose to a focal point during the 2012-2013 season, where more than 160 players went down with a head injury, spawning multiple lawsuits and serving as a catalyst for major reworkings of the league's rules by its Head, Neck & Spine Committee. Studies have tied concussions to long-term brain damage and lingering psychological issues, and a number of suicides by former players have largely cemented those ties in public opinion.



The NFL isn't the first organization to turn to Apple's popular tablet for health applications. The iPad is very popular among physicians worldwide, and the iPad mini may only expand that popularity. A number of physicians and medical industry observers are also very excited about the potential for apps and other technologies to transform the way medicine is practiced.
post #2 of 19

I think we can put to bed all the "so much for iPad is a toy" pre-rebuttals at this point. Anyone still claiming that can pretty much have everything they say before and after discredited. Yeah?

 

As for the NFL, anyone know why they haven't contracted with Apple for the Apple TV yet? I know some people who would cut cable/satellite for the Apple TV if they could have football on it like they do the other sports. 

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #3 of 19
I admittedly must be missing something. But shouldn't a doctor be able to diagnose a concussion without an iPad? Or maybe it will be used to transmit/receive brain images? Or link into the player's history of injury or other records?

In other words, I wonder what the iPad brings to the table.
post #4 of 19

Yeah...I admit...if the NFL or the NBA for that matter could be streamed to my Apple TV both locally and live I'd be ecstatic!

post #5 of 19
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post
Or maybe it will be used to transmit/receive brain images? Or link into the player's history of injury or other records?

 

That sounds about right; it's a replacement of the paper documentation they would have otherwise needed to have on hand. 

 

Originally Posted by rcoleman1 View Post
…NBA for that matter could be streamed to my Apple TV…

 

Does this not do what you want?

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #6 of 19

An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #7 of 19

Watch the Espn link to understand the application 

post #8 of 19
The NFL measures are all post-incident palliatives. The ability to accurately diagnose and document a concussion doesn't reduce its severity. What the NFL needs are measures to reduce concussions: Changes in rules, equipment, marketing practices (i.e. stop highlighting and glorifying brain-liquifying hits.), player compensation schemes, etc.

If the NFL does not lead on reducing concussions in their league, America's parents will kill football by not letting their children sign up for it. I mean unless they are dirt poor, why would a parent let their child participate in a sport that almost guarantees permanent brain injury? The latest research shows just the regular mild but repetitve hits from playing and practicing high school football is enough to cause long term damage.
Edited by tundraboy - 2/24/13 at 12:09pm
post #9 of 19
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post
(i.e. stop highlighting and glorifying brain-liquifying hits.)

 

If the equipment is changed, this doesn't matter anymore. 

 

You're saying they incentivize "hitting harder" by showing the tackles? Isn't that the point of the game? Would they be better served with national touch football?


If the NFL does not lead on reducing concussions in their league, America's parents will kill football by not letting their children sign up for football.

 

No, they won't. Not by a long shot.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #10 of 19
So, iPa d doesnt diagnose. Its just an onsite tool for data collection.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

The NFL measures are all post-incident palliatives. The ability to accurately diagnose and document a concussion doesn't reduce its severity. What the NFL needs are measures to reduce concussions: Changes in rules, equipment, marketing practices (i.e. stop highlighting and glorifying brain-liquifying hits.), player compensation schemes, etc.

If the NFL does not lead on reducing concussions in their league, America's parents will kill football by not letting their children sign up for it. I mean unless they are dirt poor, why would a parent let their child participate in a sport that almost guarantees permanent brain injury? The latest research shows just the regular mild but repetitve hits from playing and practicing high school football is enough to cause long term damage.

Those are valid concerns true but if they downplayed the hits too much a lot of people would be soured on the league as becoming glorified flag football. By its nature football is a violent contact sport. Athletes know this up front and are willing to take the risk in exchange for millions of dollars and the glory and fame that are associated with it. Older players may not have had the same knowledge about the concussion effects but today's players know and accept the risks. Rules and penalties only go so far. You may start hitting a person below the head but then that person lowers his body and contact with the head is made. A penalty will result but the contact still occurred. It would be interesting to see any stats on the number of former players that suffer ill concussion effects after retiring versus the number of players playing the game. It does not downplay concussions but would give some perspective. As for parents, that is their choice either way as long as they and their children are aware of all of the facts and potential for injury.
post #12 of 19
This is all about damage control and data collection. No Doctor wants the liability of making the call that sidelines a multi million dollar earner. Nor do they want liability for not sidelining one. The team, the doctor, and the league all have the same goal: limiting liability. This is not all bad. It will protect the players some, but it is not ultimately the right solution. The helmet is the weapon, and its hard surface is the reason it is used in this manner. Adding padding to the outside of the helmet is the only thing which will start to reduce injuries. Ultimately this is not rocket science, the only reason that this is not being pursued is it will change how the game is played in a really fundamental way. The league is scared of ruining it's business model and will be losing the lawsuits that have already been filed unless they can get Congress to do an end around on the court system. This is good ole boys versus the courts and I would not put any money on the court system offering any real relief for the players.

The app seems to be focused on taking mental tests of skills and memory, but it could also be used to photograph pupil dilation and response times. It will help take the guess work out of diagnosis, but ultimately it is an equipment problem and cultural problem that needs to change. Football is pretty deep into the American Psyche. It even has roots in the American Indians who played for Pop Warner and created the forward pass and strategy. It will take some real courage or financial pain to change it to a safer sport. I would love to see the Hall of fame class of 2020 look healthy and happy in retirement. Sure seems more likely now than it did last year.
post #13 of 19
"How many iPads am I holding up?"
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

The NFL measures are all post-incident palliatives. The ability to accurately diagnose and document a concussion doesn't reduce its severity. What the NFL needs are measures to reduce concussions: Changes in rules, equipment, marketing practices (i.e. stop highlighting and glorifying brain-liquifying hits.), player compensation schemes, etc.

If the NFL does not lead on reducing concussions in their league, America's parents will kill football by not letting their children sign up for it. I mean unless they are dirt poor, why would a parent let their child participate in a sport that almost guarantees permanent brain injury? The latest research shows just the regular mild but repetitve hits from playing and practicing high school football is enough to cause long term damage.

This!!!!  American Football is a really stupid "sport" in its current incarnation.  How many minutes of play for a 4 hour wall clock time again?  And of course, how many head traumas?  The whole game is designed around that.

 

But try to criticize it, and oh my...

post #15 of 19

I think they are putting iPad minis in the helmets and the accelerometer sends a signal to the doctor when the player's brain gets rattled.1wink.gif

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by 65C816 View Post

This!!!!  American Football is a really stupid "sport" in its current incarnation.  How many minutes of play for a 4 hour wall clock time again?  And of course, how many head traumas?  The whole game is designed around that.

 

But try to criticize it, and oh my...

I bet your not an Ultimate Fighting Championship fan either. Some people and players enjoy the violence and it has been such since organized contests were established. Some of us are not that thrilled with the "woosieing up" of sports.

post #17 of 19

I've often thought that one way to solve these concussion problems is to get rid of all padding and helmets, kind of like the old days.

 

Without all that armor, players would think twice about how they tackle, because they might crack their own skulls in the process.

 

I used to play rugby, where neither padding nor helmets are used.  There are proper tackling techniques which are injury-free and get the job done.  Putting your head down and ramming an opponent, like so many football players do, is not one of them.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by nunyabinez View Post

I bet your not an Ultimate Fighting Championship fan either. Some people and players enjoy the violence and it has been such since organized contests were established. Some of us are not that thrilled with the "woosieing up" of sports.

"woosieing up" of sports?  If you're in the field, then you can say that.  If you're the arm chair quarterback, bah, humbug.

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by acslater017 View Post

I admittedly must be missing something. But shouldn't a doctor be able to diagnose a concussion without an iPad? 

 

You missed the part where this is before a doctor is called in. Well one other than the team doctor (who mainly deals with cuts, scrapes, dislocated joints etc)

 

guy gets smacked, says he's okay, coach sends him back out. With this app, they could run the player  through a few simple tests that would give them feedback about whether he is potentially okay or isn't. That way he isn't sent back out to get smacked again.

 

also one single hit might not cause a concussion alone but several over a short time could. So test after each major wack and a pattern forms. And that data could be provided to the doctor when he is called in.

 

and yes it could also be used to record other injuries like torn ligaments, dislocations etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
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