UNC Professor Contributing to Development of Concussion Diagnostic Tool

Igor Szczyrba holding model of brain

Igor Szczyrba studies computer models in researching traumatic brain injuries.

Stephanie Burchett

University of Northern Colorado Professor of Mathematical Sciences Igor Szczyrba continues to use computer modeling to simulate football collisions and establish more precise criteria in on-field hits that can lead to head injuries.

Szczyrba is particularly interested in identifying dangerous levels of acceleration at impact that result in head rotation. It's that back-and-forth, side-to-side movement that can cause severe head injuries, he says.

"The brain doesn't like to be rotated in an accelerated way," says Szczyrba, drawing an analogy to a boxer enduring multiple left and right hooks from an opponent in the ring. "The research continues to find critical values of rotational acceleration that lead to injuries."

With more testing, the data Szczyrba is collecting can be validated and used on the field to help diagnose potential head injuries in developing a "good tool to assess if the injury is severe."

This past spring and summer, Szczyrba was invited to present his research results at the American Mathematical Society conference, at the University of Warsaw and at the Polish Academy of Sciences.