Beefing up concussion testing for high school athletes
Contact sports are really a double-edged sword.
They can be thrilling, but can also lead to concussions.
It's a scenario that Bishop Alexander Carter High School in Hanmer experienced first-hand when several student-athletes fell victim to head injuries.
Eventually, the school decided to invest $20,000 into the sophisticated Dynavision D-2 Board for its grade 9 and 10 student-athletes.
"All these things were coming up," said Jean-Gilles Larocque, a teacher.
"Like it or not, some of the feedback we were getting from others wasn't satisfying, so bringing in the product to see and help the students academically and athletically, that kind of opened our eyes."
Dynavision measures and improves peripheral awareness, hand-eye co-ordination and reaction time in sport.
It's also been linked to detecting post-concussion symptoms; helping stroke patients and those dealing with a traumatic brain injury.
It was developed and brought along by former CFL Player Phil Jones.
"If you're a high performance athlete, it's going to make you process information quicker," said Jones.
"If you're a person that's had a stroke, it's going to help you get back on your feet quicker. Dynavision was always used for concussion management. There's more and more research all the time showing that this vision training is great for prevention because of avoidance on field hits, last minute hits"
Hitting constant flashing lights is challenging enough; try reading words and numbers off a tiny screen at the same time.
Not easy, but these students say it's helped them.
"I've had two or three concussions now and one was term one of this year, and when I had my concussion, we just kind of wanted to be curious and wanted to see where I was as far as reaction time and the scores were totally different, you couldn't compare," said Jenna Shambrook.
"It's been helping me, with tests, with everything. My focus is just 100 percent better and it overall makes me a better student and a better athlete," explained Abigail Morgan.
"I'm faster at taking down notes now then I was before, and then during sports, I'm faster. I play hockey and baseball. So, faster hitting the ball, my reaction time when it's coming in," added Parker Savard.
The school feels this has only scratched the surface on the machine's potential.
"This year we combined the Dynavision board along with our heart math and also physical activity and heart rate monitors to see the impact they have on academic achievement," said Cassandra MacGregor, principal.
So with the progress made over two years, combined with the students it has helped, the school hopes other sports and medical organizations might also think about using Dynavision and improve life for even more people.