According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of eight NFL teams that have agreed to take part in a pilot program during the 2013 season which would put a player’s entire medical record at a doctor’s fingertips on the sideline.
The initial plan seems to call for the participating teams to put everything from X-rays to baseline concussion tests onto iPads that will also be loaded with X2 software that includes the Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT-3). In addition; the data could then be transferred from organization to organization should a player change teams.
“Now, it\’s a visual to the player. That\’s the important thing,” said Dr. James Bradley, the Steelers head orthopedic surgeon and chairman of the league\’s medical research committee.
“If we can just sit him down and say, \’Look, here\’s your balance test and your cognitive skills, your memory, your reaction time.\’ Now they\’ve got a visual of that, which is a very positive step forward with the players accepting that they have an issue and wanting to get it resolved.”
Pelissero reports that the iPads were beta tested last season and if all goes well in 2013, it could be implemented league wide in 2014.
There are a few minor details to get past; however, as Pelissero also reports that players, agents and the NFLPA are concerned about how free agent medical records will be handled between teams. One would think that these details should be able to be worked out over the course of this upcoming season as to appease everyone involved.
With all the concerns that the league currently has concerning player safety, especially when it comes to concussions, you had to know that something such as this was on the way thanks in part to the fast-moving advances made in technology and computers. While I am sure the details are far from being finalized, it seems all but certain that this program will be put in place league-wide by the start of the 2014 season.
In addition to the Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers will also participate in the 2013 pilot program.