This article refers to products that are no longer available or supported.


Have you downloaded our Concussion Recognition & Response™ (CRR) app yet? The app is now available free of charge for download through the Apple® App StoreSM and Google Play for use on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® Touch, Android™ device, or tablet!

The CRR app helps coaches and parents recognize whether an individual is exhibiting and/or reporting the signs of a concussion. In fewer than 5 minutes, a parent or coach can complete a checklist of signs and symptoms to help determine whether to seek medical attention. The app allows users to record pertinent information regarding the child with a suspected concussion, allowing them to easily share that information with health-care providers. Post-injury, it guides parents through follow-up treatment.

Click here to view the PARtners and Supporters of the CRR, including Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback Steve Young!

Have you noticed lately that your favorite smartphone app or videogame greets you with an occasional surprise or random reward when you log on? For example, a popular app for an upscale taxi service called Uber rewards its customers with unexpected one-day options such as on-demand roses, ice cream, or even helicopter rides. The offers are “just for fun” says Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, and customers seem to agree: traffic to their app spikes on days when these special services are offered. But there is nothing random about this kind of marketing, according to Steve Henn, Technology Correspondent for National Public Radio.

“Many of the most popular technologies of our time tap into powerful reward mechanisms in our brains,” said Henn in a July 24 story on NPR’s All Tech Considered program. “Many techies and marketers are tapping, sometimes unintentionally, into decades of neuroscience research to make their products as addictive and profitable as possible.”

As every student of psychology knows, unexpected rewards are much better at driving behavior than predictable ones; this was proved by the famous behaviorist B.F. Skinner in the 1930s with his Skinner Box experiment. Skinner trained rats to press a lever in order to receive a food pellet; he then set the mechanism to release the pellet only occasionally and randomly. This caused the rats to obsessively click the lever again and again, hoping to trigger a reward.

This kind of behavior, in both rats and humans, is a response not to hunger but rather to the boost of dopamine released by the brain in anticipation of a reward, says Nora Volkow, the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Volkow and others have studied the effects of dopamine on the brain and its role in addictive behavior, and a large body of research has shown that unexpected rewards trigger the release of more dopamine than expected ones. So the repeated clicks to your favorite app might be a desire for the dopamine rush in anticipation of the latest special offer.

What do you think? Are apps with random rewards just for fun, or are they cultivating genuinely addictive behavior? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

This article refers to products that are no longer available or supported.

A new Concussion Recognition & Response™ app from PAR allows coaches and parents to quickly determine whether an individual is exhibiting and/or reporting the signs and symptoms of a suspected concussion. In less than 5 minutes, coaches and parents can complete a checklist of possible signs and symptoms to help them decide whether to remove the child from play and seek medical attention. The app also provides home symptom monitoring for post-injury follow-up. Designed for the iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® Touch, or Android device or tablet, the app is now available for download from the Apple® App StoreSM or Android Market.

Using information from the CDC’s Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports program, the app guides users through a set of questions to determine the likelihood of a suspected concussion based on observations by the parent or coach as well as symptoms reported by the athlete. The device’s GPS records where the incident took place; its camera enables you to photograph the injured party; e-mail allows you to forward accurate information and documentation to a health care provider.

After follow-up with health care providers, the app enables a parent or caregiver to record a child’s symptoms through periodic evaluations, which are tracked during the hours, days, or weeks following an injury. This information can be e-mailed to health care professionals, providing an update on the athlete’s recovery.

The app also includes a Return-to-Play Guide that helps protect children and athletes from further injury by guiding them through a 5-step, tiered exercise routine. In collaboration with the child’s health care provider, parents and coaches can use the guide to ensure that the child is able to handle added exercise without further injury or discomfort. The app’s concussion information section provides general information about concussions along with answers to frequently asked questions for parents and coaches.

Users may customize the look and feel of the app with sport-related themes, including hockey, football, and lacrosse—and more themes will be available soon.

PAR’s Concussion Recognition & Response app was developed by concussion experts Gerard A. Gioia, PhD, and Jason Mihalik, PhD. Gioia is a pediatric neuropsychologist and the chief of the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center, where he directs the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program. Mihalik is an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina; he currently serves as the co-director of the Matthew A. Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center.

PAR will donate a portion of all proceeds from the sale of this app to support concussion research at the Children’s National Medical Center and the Matthew A. Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center.