Milwaukee-grown app helps identify concussions

Posted at 7:55 PM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 20:55:30-04

When your child gets a hard hit on the football or soccer field, you may know to look for a concussion. But, for those people who don't know exactly what they're looking for, a Milwaukee-grown app has the answer.

It's called STAC - Symptom Tracking App for Concussions.

The researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin took the concussion symptom checklist all athletic trainers use and combined it with the extra information you need to know if your symptoms are normal and when you can go back to activity. Idea man Adam Pfaler, a clinical research assistant, was inspired by his own experience.

"I was a volunteer football coach. And I thought this symptom checklist would be a great idea to help out the youth football coaches who don't have daily access to trainers," he said.

Brain Injury Research Program Manager, Jen Hill, said they found parents who were in the Emergency Department at Froedtert Hospital didn't know what to look for in a concussion.

"It's a lot of responsibility on coaches and parents to know the signs and symptoms, report, and determine if someone should go back to play," she explained.

But to help the parents and coaches, the researchers had to pitch their idea to MCW's partner, the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. Dustin Hahn, the project manager at the UWM's App Brewery, said the idea clicked with him, not just as a developer, but also as a dad.

"I have two young kids," he said. "My son was in football and experienced a concussion."

Hahn said he knew about concussions, but not the detailed information this app offers.

The app has you rank the symptoms a concussed person is experiencing. It tracks those day-to-day, to help you see if the person is getting better or worse. It has information that goes with that, including the sights and symptoms of a concussion, the stages of getting back into activities, and the warning signs when a concussion might be dangerous.

The developers say it's not a replacement for a doctor, but can help you know when to see one. They said it's also a tool you can use to communicate with your doctor about a concussion.

The app is available for download now. You can search "STAC Concussion" in your app store.