(Plenary) Wearable Wireless Textile Based Nanosensor System for Early Detection of Concussion and Cardiac Arrest of Football Players

Tuesday, 26 May 2015: 14:00
Continental Room C (Hilton Chicago)
V. K. Varadan (Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Hershey Medical Center)
The prevalence of head injury and its subsequent effects among football players has been a persistent problem at all levels of the game. Research work over the past few decades has brought heightened awareness about the causes and long-term effects of severe or traumatic head injuries (TBI) and repeated concussions. The NFL and NCAA  have implemented policies for prevention and protocols for diagnosis and treatment. An injury surveillance system is in place, which comprises of injury spotting, sideline evaluation protocol and subsequent diagnostic using brain imaging. But mild and moderate head injuries can still occur and go undetected. The cumulative effect of these mild traumatic brain injuries can cause long-term residual brain dysfunctions. Often mild TBI are detected upon manifestation of these dysfunctions.

Improvement in impact detection and quantification, and injury diagnosis are required for timely medical intervention to prevent or minimize the damage due to head injury. In addition to that, a sensitive (neuro) feedback system is required for evaluation of therapeutics used for enabling players returning to play or cope with long term effects due to over-exposure to head injury. This requires a continuous unobtrusive monitoring of directional and rotational impact force, and monitoring of brain, cognitive and behavioral symptoms that is applicable to athletes of all ages.

The sudden death of an individual resulting from a sudden failure in heart function is referred to as Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). Rigorous exercise increases the risk of SCDs in young athletes with underlying cardiovascular disorders (CVD). A recent study has shown that up to 82% of individuals who succumbed to SCD were engaged in strenuous exercise during or immediately before the incident. Nearly 58% of SCDs reported between 1980 and 2006 have been reported in basketball and football athletes.

In this talk, a wearable wireless textile based nanosensor system will be presented to monitor early warning symptoms of both concussion and cardiac arrest. Selected videos will be presented to show the efficacy of our nanosensor system network.