Virtual reality concussion app presented to NCAA officials

Published: Feb. 8, 2016 at 12:21 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 4, 2016 at 2:49 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A team of researchers and a University of Arizona athlete presented a virtual reality concussion app to NCAA and Department of Defense officials in Indianapolis on Friday, Feb. 5.

Jason Sweet, a Wildcats football player, Ricardo Valerdi, associate professor of systems engineering at UA, Hirsch Handmaker and Jonathan Lifshitz at the UA College of Medicine in Phoenix created Brain Gainz to change the way athletes are educated about concussions.

The app is used with Google cardboard glasses and it allows athletes to experience the symptoms of a concussion through virtual reality.

The app was created as a part of the Mind Matters Challenge, a program launched by the NCAA and DOD aimed at research and education of concussions in athletes as well as those in the military.

"I really don't remember much of my concussion training my freshman year, playing football here," Sweet said. "This is something that's unforgettable."

Sweet said the hands-on approach will be a game changer.

"Fifty percent of players that show up to college as freshman have already experienced concussions in high school football," Sweet said. "So what do you do about the other 50 percent? Well, they don't even know what concussion symptoms are. You give them this virtual reality experience and they're able to get those symptoms simulated."

Brain Gainz was up against five other projects in the education portion of the Mind Matters Challenge.

The team could receive more funding and the app could make it into the hands of 400,000 NCAA student athletes across the country if they beat out the other projects.

View the other projects HERE.

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