By: Bill Bangert
Putting their heads together, students from the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing and UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) worked on projects during the fall semester proposing solutions in the prevention, assessment and rehabilitation of mild traumatic brain injury, or concussions. Their findings were presented at DAAP on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.
Nine nursing students and five design students were divided into three separate teams focusing on women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer and cheerleading, respectively.
"Over the last three years we have done work on the topic of concussion in football, men’s soccer, bicycling and other sports but we kept seeing these three particular sports come up and we hadn’t addressed them up until now,” says Jeanine Goodin, associate professor in the College of Nursing. "We want to see what’s not been discovered yet or what we can do in these particular fields.”
Steven Doehler, associate professor of industrial design in DAAP, says the nursing-design student collaboration is now in its seventh year. "In the last three years we’ve focused on concussions, and have been working with the athletic department and the trainers as well as researchers from the UC College of Medicine working around concussions.” says Doehler. "Each team researched the vulnerabilities and developed a list of criteria that they had to design to in order to help that community be safer when it comes to brain trauma.”
The Intersection of Clinical and Creative
The group working on concussions in cheerleading developed a player-to-player and coach-to-player awareness campaign focused on recognizing symptoms of concussion. The team also developed a conceptual regulating body for cheerleading.
The student team working on women’s lacrosse came up with a peripheral vision training device where users walk into a tent and wait for lights to turn on that they then have to touch. The faster the touch, the better the score in an activity designed to help make their peripheral vision more acute and improve their ability to see objects or opponents approaching them.
The result from the group working on women’s soccer was a design for an exercise device consisting of resistance bands attached to handles and a headpiece enabling users to perform exercises to strengthen their neck muscles. Women’s soccer players sustain the majority of their concussions from headers, due in part to neck muscles that are underdeveloped.
"The nursing students give the designers a very clear clinical aspect of what the problem is in the community that’s being affected,” says Doehler. "Then the designers work with them to make sure that they can develop something that is user-friendly and that people want to use and that is clinically sound, based on that nursing collaborative.”