Since 2013, the NFL has required clubs to use electronic tablets with specially designed applications for the diagnosis of concussions. The X2 app, which includes a step-by-step checklist for assessing players suspected of head injury, as well as all players’ concussion baseline tests and historical data, is now an established component of in-game concussion diagnosis and care. This record travels with a player wherever he goes in the League, so that his medical history is close at hand from game to game and team to team.
“Conducting analytics using electronic medical records and other game-related information substantially broadens our understanding of player health and safety.”
—Dr. Christina Mack, Associate Director of Epidemiology at Quintiles
The same X2 software is used by the NFL, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer to help medical experts treat injured players.
When a head injury is suspected, medical staff can turn to X2 Biosystems’ Integrated Concussion Evaluation (ICE) app. The software compares how a player answers a specific set of questions before and after a possible head injury.
It’s a vital component in the decision-making process when determining whether a player should be allowed to return to a game.
These sideline tablets also carry another important decision-making resource for player health and safety: the electronic medical records (EMRs) of every player.
A Gateway of Health-Related Information
Information gleaned from these EMRs is accessed through a special database.
Medical staff can look at aggregated data that breaks down statistics into categories like type of injury, type of play, type of field surface, location of the hit and so on.
This kind of aggregated data also helps the NFL’s Competition Committee consider rules changes that can mitigate injuries. The decision to move the kickoff to the 35-yard-line was made in large part because of the number of concussions and general injuries on that play.
“Conducting analytics using EMRs and other game-related information substantially broadens our understanding of player health and safety,” says Dr. Christina Mack, Associate Director of Epidemiology at Quintiles.