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UNL conducts athlete concussion research
The University of Nebraska is conducting a ground breaking brain study, that could lead to major developments in preventing significant injuries.
The Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior at UNL is putting hundreds of athletes through a battery of tests before the start of their next season.
The athletes will take part in six different condition tests.
Step 1. Balance test.
Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms after a concussion.
"What we're trying to do is measure body sway while he's performing."
Another test is similar to focusing on an eye chart. Instead of multiple letters were looking at one letter.
Dr. Honaker begins to move my head. She's challenging my inner ear balance.
"Now what we're trying to do is to determine how small the target you're able to see with your head and we're looking at this ratio difference in your head still and in motion and that lets us know how well you use your inner ear balance system."
Doctors want to make sure you're safe with similar objects and well as with objects in motion.
Next, with these goggles on how am I able to track a target?
"Some athletes with brain injury or head may have unsmooth moves with their eyes."
"If there's damage to his inner ear balance there are two we can notice irregular ear movement."
Another portion of the study is to put this electro-net onto my head, have me do various tests and they'll be able to see how my brain reacts on this data computer.
One of these devices costs $6,000 each.
Before the start of the test, a certain number of electrodes needs to be activated.
After the device is on I will hear a series of tones, I need to push a number on a keypad when I hear the high tone.
On the computer, Doctor Molfese and his staff can tell when sounds occur and when I'm responding.
With this information gathered in the study, researchers say new avenues will be opened in how to study the brain and the effect concussions have on it.
"To get enough information from these studies to actually devise ways to change the way information goes into the brain so that even an injured brain can process it at a normal fashion."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visits for sports related traumatic brain injuries including concussions among children and adolescents have increased by 60 percent in the last decade.
Those figures stress the need for doctors like Molfese to find how concussions develop, how to fully heal from one and use that data to help train athletes better.
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