Concussion is a common sporting injury, especially in contact sports such as Rugby and Australian Football, and can affect players at all levels. To ensure players’ health and safety, it is crucial that a suspected concussion can be rapidly assessed field-side. Complicating this assessment, however, is the non-specificity of most concussion-related symptoms (e.g., headache, tiredness), as well as our limited understanding about the neural markers of concussion. Electroencephalography (EEG) might be able to provide a solution, especially with the emergence of portable EEG systems. Our project saw us take a first step towards using EEG as a field-side assessment tool by taking a portable EEG system field-side to measure the electrical brain activity of Rugby Union and Rugby League players (N = 31) during their 2018 season. Through the repetitive alternating presentation of black and white stimuli at 15Hz for 2 minutes, we successfully recorded a 15Hz Steady-State Visual-Evoked Potential (SSVER), demonstrating that EEG data can be recorded “in the wild”. Ongoing data collection will build on this novel finding and investigate how the healthy brain responds to playing sports by testing brain activity at multiple points during a season, before investigating how a sport-related concussion impacts on brain function.
Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference