By Karin McCay| email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – A concussion is very common among athletes. The concern is that even though that player may tell you they're fine a few hours later, a second injury could be catastrophic if the brain has not completely recovered from the first incident. Former Idalou football player Tanner Cook is a tragic example of that. He is still recovering from a second injury that came too soon after a concussion nearly 2 years ago.
Now, here's what's new this school year. It's called the Impact Test: a computerized tool for coaches, trainers, and other health professionals to determine exactly when it is safe for an athlete to return to play after a concussion. Stan Kotara, a Physician Assistant at Lubbock Sports Medicine, says an athlete may appear to have recovered from a concussion, but his brain may still be healing. "Even though a student athlete's symptoms may be completely resolved; meaning their headaches are gone, they're sleeping better, they report no symptoms to us, cognatively the brain may not be fully recovered and that can take several days, if not weeks."
Stan explains that athletes will take the Impact Test before there is an injury. Then, if there is a concussion, they will take the same test again for comparison. Stan adds it's not uncommon for a recovering athlete to tell his parents or his coaches ‘I feel fine now', when the results of the Impact Test show the brain is not back to normal yet.
Part of the test asks the student to explain any symptoms they may be feeling on a scale of 1 to 6. He says that's interesting to study because they have found that kids are more often more honest with the computer. "Sometimes they may not be as truthful to coaches and parents", he says, "but they are more truthful with the computer."
So far, more than a dozen area schools have signed up for their athletes to take the Impact Test, including LISD and Texas Tech.
For more information on the Impact Test in preventing concussion injuries, call Lubbock Sports Medicine at 792-4329. If your child's school is not participating, parents can still make arrangements for a child to be tested individually.
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