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Notre Dame Mobile Concussion App Research to be Funded by NFL/GE Head Health Challenge

Nina Welding • DATE: January 26, 2014

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A mobile concussion app under development by researchers from the University of Notre Dame’s Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics initiative has been selected for funding in a competition sponsored by the National Football League and General Electric.

The Notre Dame project is one of only 15 proposals selected from more than 400 submitted in the competition.

The research is performed in collaboration with mobile software company Contect Inc., which plans to distribute the completed app to athletic trainers, coaches, physicians and parents with a fast, simple and more objective way to detect concussions. Unlike traditional concussion screening methods, which require cumbersome equipment or medical training, take a long time to administer and are prone to manipulation by athletes, this patent-pending technology can be run on a mobile device and recognizes the changes in speech acoustics that occur with concussions. The result is a more objective, highly mobile concussion screening test that takes only two minutes to perform and can protect athletes from the danger of repeated concussions.

The technology was invented by researchers Christian Poellabauer and Patrick Flynn from Notre Dame’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Nikhil Yadav, a Computer Science and Engineering graduate student.

GE and the NFL started the Head Health Initiative, a four-year, $60 million collaboration to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury, in 2013. The goal of the research and innovation program, guided by health care experts, is to improve the safety of athletes, members of the military and society overall.

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