Oculomotor Response as an Objective Assessment for Mild TBI in the Pediatric Population (2017-2018)

Brain injury in children is complex and common and is currently a leading source of injury and death. While mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is an important public health issue for both the general pediatric population and youth athletes, it is hard to quantify the physiological implications of concussions, making it difficult for clinicians to identify accurate diagnoses.

Since 2015, this team has been developing objective diagnostic tools to help clinicians diagnose, treat and mitigate concussive and sub-concussive events in children. Working with local youth sports programs, the team assessed athletes between ages five and 18 using an eye tracking protocol, created instructional videos for youth participants, developed a head-mounted portable tool for measuring concussions and established guidelines to help clinicians evaluate interventions.

In 2017-18, the team completed a third year of data acquisition in the local high school and youth football cohorts (Cardinal Gibbons High School and Durham Eagles Pop Warner Youth Football) and added a middle school team (Raleigh Revolution) to the study. 

Team members gathered longitudinal data for a subset of its study population, including eye-tracking assessments, neurocognitive testing, symptom scoring, anthropometric measurements, head impact exposure data and weekly athletic activity reporting.


Summer 2017 – Spring 2018

Team Outcomes

Utilizing a Multi-methodological Approach to Examine the Effects of Subconcussive Loading in American Football (honors thesis by Connor Hile, Neuroscience)

Ocular Movement and Subconcussive Exposure in the Pediatric Brain (honors thesis by Megan Rooney, Neuroscience)

Age Related Differences on a Smooth Pursuit Task in High School and Youth Football Participants: Implcations for Baseline Concussion Assessments (honors thesis by Daniel O’Connell, Neuroscience)

Efficacy of “Thresholding Method” in Identifying On-field Impacts with DASHR Device (master’s project by Nia Christian, Biomedical Engineering, April 11, 2018)

Improvement of Baseline Drift Removal and Sensor Ergonomics for a Portable Electrooculagraphy (EOG) Headset (Master’s project by Austin Murray, Biomedical Engineering, November 28, 2017)

Improvements in Baseline Drift Removal from Electrooculography (EOG) Signal and Headset Design (poster by Mitchell Z. Abrams, Austin F. Murray, Drew M. Levy, Jason F. Luck, Divya Chowbey, Joost Op ’t Eynde, John T. D’Angelo, Cameron R. Bass), presented at Human Movement Science and Biomechanics Research Symposium, Chapel Hill, NC, March 9, 2018; Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018; and Visible Thinking, April 19, 2018

Tackling Concussions (poster by Daniel O’Connell, Megan Rooney, Connor Hile, Drew Levy, Mitchell Abrams, Katya Khlystova, Aalin Izhar, Divya Chowbey, Mihir Paithane, Austin Murray, Edward Hsieh, Brynn McGovern, Joost Op ’t Eynde, Jason Kait, John D’Angelo, Bruce Capehart, Adam Mehlenbacher, Carrie Muh, Jason Luck, Cameron “Dale” Bass), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018, and Visible Thinking, April 19, 2018


Daniel O’Connell

This Team in the News

Using Eye Movements as an Objective Tool to Evaluate Adolescent Concussions

‘Why Are You Trying to Ruin Football?’ Duke Tackles CTE Impact

I suffered two concussions within nine months, which affected me both physically and psychologically. After I came to Duke, I became interested in studying them. I also liked the project’s emphasis on pediatrics, because it’s a population that doesn’t get as much attention [when it comes to studying concussions]. The biggest reward for me was testing with the elementary school kids. The data we are collecting may impact the new generation.

–Connor Hile ’18

See related teams, Oculomotor Response as an Objective Assessment for Mild TBI in the Pediatric Population (2018-2019) and Oculomotor Response as an Objective Assessment for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the Pediatric Population (2016-2017).

Team Leaders

  • Cameron Bass, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Bruce Capehart, Durham VA Medical Center
  • Jason Luck, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Adam Mehlenbacher, School of Medicine-Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences
  • Carrie Muh, School of Medicine-Neurosurgery

/graduate Team Members

  • Joost Op 't Eynde, Biomedical Engineering-MS
  • Austin Murray, Biomedical Engineering-MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Aalin Izhar, Biology (BS)
  • Marguerite Rooney, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Daniel O'Connell, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Brynn McGovern, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Drew Levy, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Ekaterina Khlystova, Chemistry (BS)
  • Mitchell Abrams, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Edward Hsieh, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Connor Hile, Neuroscience (AB)
  • Divya Chowbey, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Jason Kait, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • John D'Angelo, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Raleigh Revolution Middle School Youth Football
  • Durham Eagles Pop Warner Youth Football
  • Cardinal Gibbons High School