Exercise and sports scientists within the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center use visual assessments like eye tracking and pupillary response activities to identify visual deficits that signify a concussion. As part of the Vision Core project, they give participants a series of tasks on a large television screen to observe motor response and reaction time.
By developing a post-concussion baseline of abilities, athletic trainers and doctors who treat athletes can determine when a player is ready to head back to the field. The overall goal, though, is to apply this research to anyone in the general population who suffers from a concussion.
Senior Kou Yang, who has been working on this project for the past year, is taking this research further, using a virtual reality (VR) program to elicit eye response. He hopes to discover how successful VR is for testing vision and if there’s a way to improve upon this use of the technology. “It’s a mystery,” he admits, “because I’m still jumping into it myself.”