Spartanburg High School: First high school in nation to test new - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg High School: First high school in nation to test new concussion technology

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Student athlete being tested on the reflexometer. (FOX Carolina 8/1/17) Student athlete being tested on the reflexometer. (FOX Carolina 8/1/17)

Spartanburg District 7 is the first high school in the nation to use brand new technology in concussion detection.

It's called Blink TBI and it has never been tested on such a young group of athletes, playing all different sports. With just a few puffs of air, the device tracks blink rates giving coaches a better idea of how to protect their athletes. 

"It's very serious and not just one, but many of these athletes are suffering many concussions. Not just in football - in all sports," Todd Staley, athletic director at Spartanburg High School said. 

The CDC reports girls soccer reports the highest number of concussions, while high school football players account for nearly 47 percent of all concussions.

"If you're concussed once then the second concussion can happen much more rapidly," Peter Keck said. 

Blick TBI uses a reflexometer. This brand new technology to detect concussions has never been tested before on a high school level, until now at Spartanburg High School.

The COO and Co-founder of Blink TBI, Ryan Fiorini took Fox Carolina through the steps of how the device works. 

"It uses a blink reflex. So a small puff of air goes in the corner of your eye and causes you to blink because it's all a reflex - you can't cheat it," Fiorini said. 

The technology has already been used by some professional teams, along with the Citadel football team. It was created at MUSC by a physician and engineer according to Fiorini. 

The device uses just five puffs of air on the eyes, in under 30 seconds. 

"It's finally quantifiable data. It's not balance or follow my finger, it's more data driven metrics," Keck said. 

"By using these high speed cameras, that are filming at 280 frames per second is able to see 3 to 5 millisecond difference in your blink," Fiorini said. 

Spartanburg High School said they'll test 400 athletes this year gathering data on what "normal" looks like now to prepare for those who will be concussed. 

"If you can get a baseline test for humans on the reflexes when they're at "normal," and then you can bring someone in who you think has been detected as concussed and you can see a difference, somewhere in the future, it will determine if a concussion has occurred. And it will determine if someone has been healed," Staley said. 

The course of gathering data will last a year at the high school, and experts explain the device is still waiting to be FDA approved. Blink TBI said the hope is have a more portable tool on the sidelines within the next year. 

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