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Author Notes:

Michelle C. LaPlaca, PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University, 313 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0535, USA; Emaiil: michelle.laplaca@bme.gatech.edu

Authors acknowledge technical and clinical assistance from Nickolas Ciaravella, Stephen Smith, Ajdin Kobic, and Courtney Crooks.

Drs. LaPlaca and Wright hold a patent (U.S. 8,568,311) for the DETECT technology described in this study, the intellectual property for which is owned by Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. Should the technology be licensed to an outside entity they would be entitled to royalties derived from potential commercialization.



  • concussion
  • helmet impact sensor
  • mild traumatic brain injury
  • neuropsychological test
  • subconcussive impact

A Novel Neuropsychological Tool for Immersive Assessment of Concussion and Correlation with Subclinical Head Impacts.

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Journal Title:

Neurotrauma Rep


Volume 2, Number 1


, Pages 232-244

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) remains a diagnostic challenge and therefore strategies for objective assessment of neurological function are key to limiting long-term sequelae. Current assessment methods are not optimal in austere environments such as athletic fields; therefore, we developed an immersive tool, the Display Enhanced Testing for Cognitive Impairment and mTBI (DETECT) platform, for rapid objective neuropsychological (NP) testing. The objectives of this study were to assess the ability of DETECT to accurately identify neurocognitive deficits associated with concussion and evaluate the relationship between neurocognitive measures and subconcussive head impacts. DETECT was used over a single season of two high school and two college football teams. Study participants were instrumented with Riddell Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) sensors and a subset tested with DETECT immediately after confirmed impacts for different combinations of linear and rotational acceleration. A total of 123 athletes were enrolled and completed baseline testing. Twenty-one players were pulled from play for suspected concussion and tested with DETECT. DETECT was 86.7% sensitive (95% confidence interval [CI]: 59.5%, 98.3%) and 66.7% specific (95% CI: 22.3%, 95.7%) in correctly identifying athletes with concussions (15 of 21). Weak but significant correlations were found between complex choice response time (processing speed and divided attention) and both linear (Spearman rank correlation coefficient 0.262, p = 0.02) and rotational (Spearman coefficient 0.254, p = 0.03) acceleration on a subset of 76 players (113 DETECT tests) with no concussion symptoms. This study demonstrates that DETECT confers moderate to high sensitivity in identifying acute cognitive impairment and suggests that football impacts that do not result in concussion may negatively affect cognitive performance immediately following an impact. Specificity, however, was not optimal and points to the need for additional studies across multiple neurological domains. Given the need for more objective concussion screening in triage situations, DETECT may provide a solution for mTBI assessment.

Copyright information:

© Tamara R. Espinoza et al., 2021; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/rdf).
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