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Tulsa Medical Company Says Tech Can Help Manage Concussions

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Out of concern for concussions, the U.S. Soccer Federation is banning heading for young players. Out of concern for concussions, the U.S. Soccer Federation is banning heading for young players.
Sway COO, Frank Wolfe said using concussion management technology would prevent concussions better than putting a ban on heading. Sway COO, Frank Wolfe said using concussion management technology would prevent concussions better than putting a ban on heading.
Sway is FDA-approved technology that compares an athlete's normal balance and reaction time to that after a big hit. Sway is FDA-approved technology that compares an athlete's normal balance and reaction time to that after a big hit.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

New restrictions to protect youth soccer players from concussions could change how Oklahoma children play the sport.

Out of concern for concussions, the U.S. Soccer Federation is banning heading for young players.

A medical company in Tulsa has developed technology that claims to recognize, in real time, when an athlete gets a concussion.

Every student athlete in Tulsa Public Schools is already using the technology that recognizes when an athlete is off his or her normal balance and reaction time; valuable information for a coach to determine how big of a blow the athlete got, and whether to put them back in the game.

Some of Oklahoma's most notable athletes use Sway concussion management technology - clients include the Oklahoma City Thunder and the University of Oklahoma football team.

Sway is an FDA-approved medical device that compares an athlete's normal balance and reaction time to that after a big hit; and with new regulations, it could be important technology for soccer players.

Monday, the United States Soccer Federation ruled that players 10 and under will be banned from heading the ball, out of concern for concussions. Players ages 11 to 13 will be restricted to a set amount of headers per week.

11/10/2015 Related Story: No More Heading The Ball For Young Players, According To US Soccer Group

Sway COO, Frank Wolfe said, "Proper coaches are not teaching kids to head below the age of 11 anyway."

Wolfe said using concussion management technology, like Sway, could manage concussions better than changing the rules of the game.

"The numbers don't lie. So when a parent says, 'My child's fine to go back,' well, the numbers say differently," he said.

For the technology to work, an athlete has to use an iPhone to do a balance and reaction test to record their normal. That sets the base for comparison after a big hit.

Wolfe said, "Should they get injured, or suspiciously injured, you can do a one-and-a-half minute test and compare it against normal to establish or reinforce the medical decision-making by that trainer…are they injured?"

Medical professionals said that could be crucial, because it's the repetitive hits that cause the most damage, not often a one-time hit.

Thanks to a $12,000 grant, Tulsa Public Schools is now using Sway.

Because Sway is FDA-approved it has to be prescribed by a physician, so someone in an athletic trainer role could facilitate use of the technology.

 

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