We’re a team of Yale graduates building a medical device to drive faster, safer concussion recovery.
Concussion is, as the CDC writes, a “public health problem of large magnitude.” It affects more than 1.5 million Americans per year, ⅔ of whom are under 18. It costs the U.S. $17 B annually in direct and indirect medical costs. It can damage a child’s ability to play sports, study and socialize for months.
Most concerningly, increased awareness of concussion has failed to spur improvement in treatment protocols. Today’s standard of care is rest: no light, no sound, no social interaction — instead, sit in a dark room and hope you recover. Such treatment is demonstrably inefficient. Further, it’s unsafe: as there are no markers of recovery beyond subjective symptom reporting, more than 40% of patients are cleared for return to the playing field before they are ready, putting them at risk for further damage.
Recent research has shown that, like a muscle, the brain must be exercised in order to recover most efficiently. If an athlete tears their hamstring, they won’t just sit in a chair and wait for it to recover: they’ll go to physical therapy and actively rehabilitate their leg. Similarly, exercising the brain through stimulation of vision and balance (the oculo-vestibular system) has been demonstrated to make concussion recovery four times faster than rest. To date, however, there are no good tools to standardize and streamline such rehabilitation.
OnTrack is a multi-platform system that digitizes, streamlines, and optimizes modern oculo-vestibular rehabilitation practices. OnTrack uses a balance board to collect patient stability data and a virtual reality headset to collect information on patient head and eye movements. Through a series of VR games, OnTrack not only stimulates a patient’s eyes and balance to drive faster recovery but also quantifies their progress to ensure that they are healthy before they are medically cleared. Patient data are synthesized and securely stored on a cloud platform with user-friendly dashboards so that patients and physicians can track progress. These data can be analyzed and used to develop a standardized rehabilitation protocol for faster, safer patient recovery.
Using the principles of oculo-vestibular rehabilitation, OnTrack has the power to help concussed patients get back in the classroom, back on the field, and ultimately, back to their normal lives.
See our technology page for more details about our device.