Researchers last week rolled out a new smartphone app to enable former National Football League (NFL) players and the general public to collectively participate in a clinical study to evaluate how on-the-field injuries affect the long-term health of players after they retire. The TeamStudy app, which was developed with Apple's ResearchKit, uses questionnaires and smartphone functions such as recording steps, distance walked, and heart rate to glean data feeding into players' physical and cognitive health.
Researchers want members of the public to download TeamStudy and act as a control group. Having information from a diverse cohort of people will help researchers differentiate between "what is an artifact from your playing career and what is happening because you're 50 years old and live an active lifestyle," says project adviser and former NFL player Chad Brown.
The app's features initially will look for data on pain and mobility, heart health, and cognitive difficulties, says Harvard Medical School professor Alvaro Pascual-Leone. He notes the study will give researchers the means to collect real-time data on ex-players' daily experiences, while rapid feedback will enable subjects to compare their health status against the average of colleagues who played similar positions or for a similar number of years. Researchers intend to link player clinical records to data compiled by TeamStudy to gain knowledge about the interplay of such factors with the impact on the players' careers.
From The Wall Street Journal
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