Alexandria Teen Develops Smartphone App to Screen for Concussion
ALEXANDRIA, Va. —
It's a risk athletes take every time they hit the field: concussion. Maegan Sady, a pediatric neuropsychologist at Children's National Health System in Northwest, estimates millions of concussions occur every year. "The rates have been going up over the past decade and past few years in part, we think, because kids are bigger, faster, stronger," she explained.
The traumatic brain injury can be difficult to diagnose. Six months ago, medical professionals missed Rohan Suri's younger brother's concussion. "The nurse just gave him an ice pack and told him he was fine and sent him home," he shared. Now the Alexandria high school student is hoping his invention will improve concussion screening. Suri, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School, explained how the invention works. "Eye tracking technology that runs on your smartphone. So it's a headset device that you can insert your phone into, then the athlete can wear the device and it displays visual stimulus," he advised.
By tracking a user's eye movements the smartphone app helps assess the likelihood of concussion. Kolaleh Eskandanian is Executive Director of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National.
"What Rohan has is a low cost solution for concussion which is an unmet medical need out there," she said.
The teen recently shared his invention at a convention organized by Children's National and became one of 12 finalists.
His device is currently being tested by a physician and two local high schools. If those tests prove successful, Suri hopes to have the device available to the public by the fall of 2017 at just 6-dollars per smartphone.
He continued, "There's been a lot of research in how vision impairment is related to concussions, and we're hoping that we're able to measure that vision impairment."
This story has been updated Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016