Posted on October 23, 2012 · Posted in Brain Injury

There really does seem to be an app for everything, and now the University of Michigan has brought us one for concussions, according a press release from the school Tuesday.

This new mobile phone app, called Return2Play, is being touted as the first of its kind by U-M. It  helps concussion patients track their activities and symptoms, and share that information with their healthcare team. The app is designed for iPhone and is available for download on iTunes for 99 cents.

Here’s how the app works. Users can enter the date and details of their  brain injuries in Return2Play.

“As the athlete progresses through recovery, under the direction of a physician, he or she can enter activities, symptoms and their severity, and notes along the way,” U-M said in its release. “Users can enter appointment dates and take notes right in the app. Return2Play also allows users to e-mail a recovery progress history in chronological order to a physician, trainer or coach.”

The app was developed by staff  from the U-M Pediatric Trauma Program and its partner Michigan NeuroSport.

“Return2Play was designed with the patient and healthcare team in mind,” Amy Teddy, Injury Prevention Program Manager at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, said in a statement. “Our goal is to create a more efficient clinic appointment that leads to better management of the injury and safe return to play decisions. This allows for a more streamlined, efficient clinic visit by eliminating the need for recollection of the injury details, signs and symptoms.  It also provides a learning section that provides quick access to education and tips about concussion.”

Many states, schools and athletic associations have been addressing the issue of concussions and youth athletes.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was set to sign a law Tuesday mandating the development of educational materials and training for athletes, parents and coaches on sports-related concussions. It also requires coaches “to immediately remove athletes suspected of having concussions from play and let them return only after getting a health professional’s written approval,” according to U-M.

The app has already been tried by some, including Pamella  Mitchell, the parent of a young athlete, Troy, who is the quarterback for Farmington High School in southeastern Michigan. Unfortunately this fall, he hit his head on the ground when he was tackled during a game. Then Troy began experiencing the classic symptoms of a concussion: dizziness, headaches and sensitivity to noise and light. He went to Michigan NeuroSport for help.

“Troy logged his symptoms and activities into the app,” Mitchell said in a statement. “And I loved the learning element, the warning signs and symptoms and the BRAIN return to play protocol.”

She also praised the app for allowing her to e-mail her son’s  symptoms to a doctor or coach of her choice.

For school year 2012-2013, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) required online-rules meetings for coaches and officials to include the Michigan NeuroSport Concussion Education High School Coach Edition, which focused on the serious nature of concussion, recognizing the signs and symptoms and a review of return-to-play protocols.

“Here at U-M and Michigan NeuroSport, we know education is crucial and there’s a real team effort needed to recognize and react to sports-related concussions,” Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, associate professor of neurology and the director of Michigan NeuroSport, said in a statement.

“The new app is our attempt to enhance the clinical experience by tracking the important details of concussion recovery that will lead to better management of this injury,” he said. “Proper recovery involves a step-by-step gradual process. We hope to raise awareness of that process through the use of this app.”

Michigan NeuroSport Concussion Education has online training modules for parents and coaches available at  The 20-minute courses are free, with those who watch them can get a certificate of completion, according to the U-M press release.

Michigan NeuroSport has also produced a 60-second public service announcement that feature one of the state’s winningest football coaches – John Herrington of Farmington Hills Harrison – talking about concussions.

That video, along with a 30-second PSA recently updated by the MHSAA, “No Such Thing As Just Getting Your Bell Rung,” will be made available to media outlets in time for the coming sports season and will be shown during MHSAA programming online and on cable TV.

Money for the development of the concussion-recovery app was  provided by the University of Michigan Health System Fostering Innovative Grants Program (FIGS). Profits from the sale of the app will be shared between the Health System, the  Pediatric Trauma Program and the inventor.

The new app was developed by Chelsea, Mich.-based TorranceLearning.

Thi Return2Play is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447