An NFL Hall of Famer was in St. Joseph, Mo., on Thursday to promote new technology that could help to prevent and treat concussions.
Former Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields attended an open house at Spine and Sport Physical Therapy and Aquatics to discuss the benefits of Dynavision, a fairly new system that is being used in eight locations around the greater Kansas City area for training and medical purposes.
The system consists of a large board covered in small, transparent buttons. The buttons light up in varying patterns, and a user presses them as quickly as he or she can. The machine then displays statistics regarding reaction times to a monitor.
A medical expert, such as a physical therapist, analyzes the data and watches the user for signs of a concussion.
Shields, who now owns and operates 68 Inside Sport, a gymnasium and sports facility, has been using the machine for years.
“We bought the Dynavision about five years ago and we use it in our day-to-day training with our youth sports, as well as some people that come in for a concussion baseline at the beginning of the year,” Shields said.
Fred Shonkwiler, physical therapist and owner of Spine and Sport, said the machine can treat concussions by helping athletes regain their normal vision starting the day after the injury.
He said it prevents concussions by making athletes quicker to react.
“Concussions are preventable (by) increasing reaction times, increasing people’s peripheral vision, and that’s the excitement of this board is we can do a lot of neat things to help that athlete prevent that blindside hit,” Shonkwiler said. “Studies show that athletes who have a slower reaction time are more at risk to get a concussion, but also more at risk to get injured.”
The open house allowed area athletes to have a baseline test done to determine their speed. Guests also were allowed to try a few drills that athletes may benefit from, such as dribbling a basketball while pressing the buttons or hitting alternating colors with opposite hands with boxing gloves.