A new cell phone app specializing in sports injury detection captured 99 percent more physical and mental health symptoms for college athletes than traditional sports medicine surveillance, according to new research released at the American Public Health Association’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver.
Researchers sampled more than 100 college football and cross-country athletes at three NCAA Division I universities during 2015 with a smartphone-based application used to collect health data in athletes’ natural environments.
They found over 99 percent of the health symptoms obtained would not have been captured through traditional injury surveillance that relies on electronic medical records or clinician reports.
“These initial results are striking and provide important insight as to how we may be able to better interface athletes with the sports medicine team in the college setting,” said lead researcher Christine Baugh, MPH, at Harvard University. “The ultimate goals would be to improve the health care received by college athletes and also to make injury and symptom surveillance more robust in these populations.”
According to Baugh, the data gathered during the study will be used to evaluate whether stress, sleep and head impacts sustained through sport influence athletes’ symptom patterns.
“We hope to use this information to provide a more holistic and accurate picture of how sports participation affects collegiate athlete health and wellbeing,” Baugh said.
APHA 2016 is themed “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health” and will focus on moving toward health equity, which means we must value all people equally, promote prevention and zero in on the social determinants of health.