Mandatory Concussion Baseline Testing for High School Athletes
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A concussion, which is a form of mild traumatic brain injury, occurs after a blow to the head. The brain is surrounded by fluid and protective membranes called meninges, which usually cushion the brain. During an impact, the brain is pushed against the inside of the skull and can be bruised. Everyone who has a concussion will have different symptoms and different levels of severity of the concussion itself.
Concussions are prevalent in high school sports, the teenage brain is not fully developed and is more prone to a brain injury then a matured adult. 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season. Looking back at that statistic, it may not seem like a lot of people, but for every single different sports season 20% of your team members will in theory sustain a concussion.
For young people ages 15 to 24 years, sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury. Once an athlete has suffered an initial concussion, his or her chances of a second one are 3 to 6 times greater than an athlete who has never sustained a concussion.
Concussion baseline tests can be used for high school athletes to help determine what steps should be taken to help them to the best possible recovery. In the event of a concussion is received during the season the baseline test is taken again by the athlete, yielding comparative scores from before and after the injury. These baseline tests and post-injury tests are computerized assessments that measure Reaction Time, Memory Capacity, Speed of Mental Processing, and Executive Functioning of the brain. They also record baseline concussion symptoms and provide extensive information about the athlete's history with concussions.
My freshmen year it was recommended to my family that I got concussion baseline testing because I had suffered a concussion before and now I was more likely to sustain another one. When I went to get the testing the doctor told me that I have better balance then a lot of athletes he sees. These baseline tests can help to see how severe the concussion actually is because if a person with not so good balance takes the test after suffering a blow to the head, then the doctor is going to think the concussion is very severe because their balance is so off.
Baseline Testing plays an important role in each concussion because every single one is unique. The tests help treat individuals on a case-by-case basis. Without a baseline test to use for comparison, an individual's post-injury test scores can only be compared to the general population, and not everyone fits into the general population.
Baseline testing usually occurs early in the season, the very act of getting tested will raise concussion awareness for athletes, parents, and coaches. Concussions can affect mental function later in life, which is why it is more important than ever to be aware of concussions and how serious they need to be treated, and the first step is a concussion baseline test.
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