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Researchers Receive Grant For Concussion Diagnosis Project

Indiana University’s School of Optometry has received a $429,000 grant to build an eyetracker device designed to help diagnose concussions.

Money from the grant will also be used to fund concussion awareness.

Photo: Jashin Lin / WFIU

Money from the grant will also be used to fund concussion awareness.

Dr. Nicholas Port and Dr. Steve Hitzeman have been collecting data for four years to prove that tracking eye movements is more accurate than self-reported symptoms of concussions.

Port says the new research will focus on observing how the eye behaves after a concussion.

“Our preliminary data from the 30 or so subjects that we’ve collected to far indicate that there’s changes in peak velocity of the eye, the ability to decelerate the eye, the accuracy of the eye as it comes to a stop,” Port says.

Hitzeman says that their current eyetracker is bulky and not usable in direct daylight, so the researchers are designing a device that incorporates virtual-reality goggles that can be used right on the playing field.

“And our goal is the safety of the athlete, and have an objective test that can assure the certified athletic trainer that this person is concussed, or this person is not concussed, and they can go back into play,” Hitzeman says.

Current tests for concussions must be conducted in a controlled environment, can take 30 minutes and their results can vary based on the individual.

Hitzeman says there may also be law enforcement or military applications for their eyetracker device.

Jashin Lin

Jashin Lin is a reporter/videographer for WFIU and WTIU news. She has previously worked as a videographer/web producer for MO.gov and as a reporter/videographer for the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She studied multimedia journalism and information technology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. You can follow her on Twitter @jashinlin.

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