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Smartphone and tablet apps for concussion road warriors (team clinicians): a systematic review for practical users
  1. Hopin Lee1,2,3,
  2. S John Sullivan1,
  3. Anthony G Schneiders1,
  4. Osman Hassan Ahmed1,4,
  5. Arun Prasad Balasundaram1,
  6. David Williams1,
  7. Willem H Meeuwisse5,
  8. Paul McCrory6
  1. 1Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  4. 4The FA Centre for Disability Football Research, St Georges Park, Burton-Upon-Trent, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire, UK
  5. 5Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  6. 6The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health—Melbourne Brain Centre, University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor S John Sullivan, Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; sjohn.sullivan{at}otago.ac.nz

Abstract

Background Mobile technologies are steadily replacing traditional assessment approaches for the recognition and assessment of a sports concussion. Their ease of access, while facilitating the early identification of a concussion, also raises issues regarding the content of the applications (apps) and their suitability for different user groups.

Aim To locate and review apps that assist in the recognition and assessment of a sports concussion and to assess their content with respect to that of internationally accepted best-practice instruments.

Methods A search of international app stores and of the web using key terms such as ‘concussion’, ‘sports concussion’ and variants was conducted. For those apps meeting the inclusion criteria, data were extracted on the platform, intended users and price. The content of each app was benchmarked to the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2) and Pocket SCAT2 using a custom scoring scheme to generate a percentage compliance statistic.

Results 18 of the 155 apps identified met the inclusion criteria. Almost all (16/18) were available on an iOS platform and only five required a payment to purchase. The apps were marketed for a wide range of intended users from medical professionals to the general public. The content of the apps varied from 0% to 100% compliance with the selected standard, and ‘symptom evaluation’ components demonstrated the highest level of compliance.

Conclusions The surge in availability of apps in an unregulated market raises concerns as to the appropriateness of their content for different groups of end users. The consolidation of best-practice concussion instruments now provides a framework to inform the development of future apps.

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