According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 2 million concussions will occur each year. There is no definitive field-side test for a concussion at this time, leaving clinicians and trainers of the more than 8,000 US athletic teams to use subjective evaluations of cognitive function and symptoms to determine if an athlete is fit to play. The Blink ReflexometerTM is a portable decision tool used by trained sideline personnel to quickly (<1 minute) test for an altered blink reflex response to external stimuli. Because it relies upon a brainstem reflex, the tool cannot be cheated. The Blink Reflexometer is being tested at several sites and pilot data on concussed athletes shows the device can measure statistically significant changes in players’ blink reflexes after head impact. The technology also has potential use in monitoring other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.
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