Smart Phone Application for Concussions Puts Guidelines into Parents’ and Coaches’ Hands

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Children’s National concussion expert develops first app to detect and treat youth concussions. App is geared towards coaches and parents and can be sent directly to child's doctor.

“This new technology supports timely concussion recognition and response, which is essential in deciding if a young athlete needs to come off the field of practice or play,” -Gerard Gioia, Children's National Medical Center

Gerard Gioia, PhD, internationally recognized expert on youth concussions and Director of the Concussion Program at Children’s National Medical Center, has collaborated in developing a smart phone and tablet application for youth coaches and parents to help them recognize and respond to concussions, the first of its kind.

The application makes information that Dr. Gioia developed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) easily accessible to parents and coaches. Dr. Gioia partnered with Jason Mihalik, PhD, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in developing the application, published by PAR Inc.    Based on the CDC Heads Up materials, the application takes parents and coaches through basic questions about the signs (what they observe) and symptoms (what an injured athlete reports) to determine if the athlete has suffered a suspected concussion and how to respond. Additionally, an email interface allows detailed information taken on the field to be sent immediately to the athlete’s parents and physicians. The app is available through the Apple app store and the Droid market and works on all Apple and Droid-based smart phones and tablets. Watch a video demonstraton of the app.     

“This new technology supports timely concussion recognition and response, which is essential in deciding if a young athlete needs to come off the field of practice or play,” said Dr. Gioia. “It also makes it possible to alert physicians with essential injury information, who soon will have an office-based application for tracking injured patients. We plan an entire suite of related concussion assessment and treatment applications, including those for students and school officials, for a comprehensive approach to concussion care.”

Dr. Gioia, Chief of Neuropsychology at Children’s National, is a leader in youth concussion research and treatment who advocates for best practices in concussion recognition, response, and management. He joins colleagues in medical and sports associations who insist that athletes be removed from the field of practice or play if a concussion is suspected. Dr. Gioia’s research focuses on younger athletes. His work has demonstrated the important role that cognitive rest and management plays in student-athletes during concussion recovery. That translates to active management of reading, texting, television, and computer games for the first days and weeks post injury.

Dr. Gioia is also a leading voice in advocating for a full assessment by a qualified healthcare professional before an injured athlete is returned to the field of play or practice and before he or she returns to a full academic schedule. To that end, he collaborates with a national coalition of sports, healthcare, and academic organizations advancing a state-by-state legislative agenda to require that coaches, young athletes and their parents/guardians be educated in proper concussion recognition and response, and that they will be evaluated and cleared by a qualified healthcare professional before returning to the field and to school.

    This agenda is especially important to young athletes, whose brains are still growing and developing and who therefore are more susceptible to lasting damage if they incur repeated injuries.

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For interviews, contact Paula Darte or Emily Dammeyer, Children's National public relations: 202-476-4500.

About Children’s National Medical Center:
Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Home to Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S.News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. With 303 beds, more than 1,330 nurses, 550 physicians, and seven regional outpatient centers, Children’s National is the only exclusive provider of acute pediatric services in the Washington metropolitan area. Children’s National has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet® designated hospital, the highest level of recognition for nursing excellence that a medical center can achieve. For more information, visit, receive the latest news from the Children's National press room, or follow us Facebook and Twitter.


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