An announcement on August 29, 2013 stated that the NFL and retired football players reached an agreement to purportedly end the pending massive concussion litigation containing thousands of former players as plaintiffs. As of today, Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody who is overseeing the judicial proceedings that have combined the hundreds of cases into one within a process called multi-district litigation has yet to approve the proposed settlement. It has been well documented that if the settlement is approved, it will require the NFL and NFL Properties to contribute $765 million to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired NFL players, cover litigation expenses and fund medical and safety research. Less discussed is the large $75 million chunk of those settlement proceeds that will be directed toward baseline medical exams for the purpose of determining the amount of monetary awards that former players will receive.
The Quantum Q-MAP utilizes brain-mapping technology to provide individual athletes, coaches and physicians information about the location and severity of a concussion.
In the ever-growing business of concussions, one new Chicago-based company seeks to provide those affordable, multidimensional baseline and post-trauma brain maps to more clearly identify the incidence and severity of concussions, as well as aid in making safe return-to-play decisions. The start-up is Quantum Institute, which has created a technology called QuicMAP® (Quantum Individual Concussion Map) that can provide a three dimensional brain map, showing new and past impacts and determine the depth and extent of concussions. It is a technology not only suited to aid those in line to receive money from a potential settlement, but also athletes currently playing football who may not always have the best information concerning whether or not to reenter games.
“Up until now concussions have lived in the dark; it’s all been symptom based treatment or diagnosis,” said Kelly Gee, former hockey player and founder of Quantum Institute to FORBES. ”Concussions are a functional issue … not so much just a structural issue. We’ve developed a system that looks at the electrical activity in the brain, maps it and shows us what areas of the brain are working well and not working so well at its most basic form. It exists elsewhere but not specifically for sports. We’ve re-purposed it.”
Gee and his team have been able to take a complicated approach in an attempt to solve parts of the intricate problems of concussions due to a generous angel investor that supplied them with $1 million in seed capital. Quantum’s baseline test list price is $87.50 and Gee’s main goal is to now get his proprietary platform in the minds of the relevant demographic.
“Baseline testing right now is an aptitude test where they look at things like memory, reaction time, coordination — all interesting, symptomatic data,” explained Gee. ”The problem with the current system is that it is easy to game. Our platform is more about how the individual has been affected by the concussion. It can’t be gamed. It is not influenced by things like fatigue or stress. We look at the actual function of brain and give a visual map of what is going on.”
Quantum’s technology is still fairly new. It was only recently launched at the 2013 Bauer World Hockey Invitational in Woodridge, Illinois, with the company’s first client Team Illinois Hockey Club. The company plans on expanding its product line in 2014 to include a concussion brain strengthening program that will offer both concussed and non-concussed athletes access to unique brain strengthening tools and a state-of-the-art athletic development center that intends to revolutionize injury prevention, strength training, explosive and agility training, proprioception expansion and skill development to optimize athletes’ performances.
For now, Quantum is gaining traction with those former players who have been seeking damages from the NFL based on the concussions they suffered during their playing days. ”Potential settlement plaintiffs are starting to roll in,” said Gee. ”We started meeting with ex-NFL players last week. A bunch are coming to meet with us this coming week. That movement is something we are really excited to become a part of.”