Reorienting concussion therapy.
Siobhan Karam, a physiotherapist at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto with a background as a professional athlete, began targeting her practice towards post-concussion treatment because she saw a lack of physiotherapists specialized in the area.
Siobhan became part of a new wave of treatment for this injury that affects over 40,000 Canadians a year. Practitioners realized that — contrary to conventional wisdom — a gradual return to activity, rather than prolonged rest, can lead to a quicker recovery.
Research showed that cervical proprioception, cervical kinesthesia and sensorimotor input tests can actually also work as exercises to help patients retrain their head and neck functions. Patients point a laser headlamp at a target on a wall, then close their eyes and turn their head up, down, left and right, and then attempt to reorient themselves to the target without using their vision.
Siobhan realized that no purpose-built product existed for these exercises in Canada. The bootstrap solution of a laser pointer attached to a headband wasn’t cutting it. She saw an opportunity to develop a user-focused solution for use in treatment — a product that would also have applications in laboratory research to advance the science behind concussion injury and recovery.
Her challenge was to find an integrated product design team to refine her design — one with the sophisticated manufacturing network needed to get the product to market in a tight timeframe.