Sports Concussion Testing with Portable EEG

By | August 8, 2011

A new study published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation points to some interesting work being done using portable EEG systems to monitor sports concussions. The study analyzed results from almost 400 high school and collegiate football players during the 2008-2009 playing season in Milwaukee, WI.

A total of 28 players sustained concussions during the playing season, and they were monitored using EEG recording, balance & body control systems, and cognitive testing. The EEG testing used Quantitative EEG (QEEG), a method for creating a visual brain map of electrical activity (see above example).

The EEG results showed that abnormal readings in the concussed players continued long after more traditional clinical tests for concussions came back “clean”. This points to more evidence that there is a “vulnerability window” in the brain as it heals from a concussion that is longer than most athletic trainers and doctors realize.

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The data from this study has some important implications for both sports teams dealing with player concussions, and the US military in handling the large numbers of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that have been sustained on the battlefield in the past decade.