Concussion Baseline Testing is an exam that measures a person’s cognitive and physical skills prior to a head injury — Thus, gives a baseline that parents, coaches, and healthcare providers can evaluate a potential head injury to prevent further or permanent brain damage. Columbia Basin Youth Football and local healthcare providers are giving this tool to parents.
“We at the CBYF believe that this is a tool that all parents should have,” said Tyler Kafentzis, President of the Junior Bombers Football Organization and a CBYF Committee member, “for their kids whether it be in football or any other sport or activity. The outreach of the CBYF being able to do more than 2000 of these between the spring and fall leagues is a service to the parents of our community.”
Brain injuries are hard to detect because every person is different. For example, if a child gets hit on the head and cant balance, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a concussion.
“We were trying to do balance testing,” recounted nurse practitioner Aaron Johnson of Total Care Clinic of attempting to treat a head injury, “and they couldn’t even stand on one foot, and they’re like ‘I swear doc, I just never had good balance.’ and I’m like how do I know this guy really doesn’t have good balance or if he’s still concussed?”
Because everyone’s cognitive and balance differs, a test prior to any potential injuries is imperative.
“There are reasons we do this,” explained chiropractor Rob Rettig of Back to Basics Chiropractic. “We’re testing neurology. We’re testing the central and peripheral nervous system. The hope we’re trying to achieve is to understand who each individual student is.”
The test involves both physical and cognitive skills that can vary person to person as well as age to age, so it’s important to get one done before every season, especially for younger athletes who’s brains are still developing.
“It’s a huge difference even within each age group and definitely between each age group,” explained Johnson. “There is no wrong answer. We’re just trying to figure out if they can figure their way through these things before and after a head injury.”
Oftentimes, a first concussion will go untreated, and it’s the second concussion that can cause real issues both presently and in the future. It’s important to treat a head injury and send an athlete through the proper protocols.
“I’m also a dad and previous athlete,” said Rettig. “Looking back at my life, this is something we had at my age.”
Baseline testing will help coaches, parents, and healthcare providers have definitive information that allows them to make an informed decision on whether to allow an athlete to continue participating after a bump to the head.
“I just know it’s going to help me if that kid shows up at my office or at any other doctor’s office,” said Johnson, “it’s worth my time in getting that baseline so we have a true comparison score.”
This testing have normally been available to college or professional athletes, but CBYF and local providers donating their time and services believe that it’s a tool that can not only help prevent head injuries in youth but educate for parents.
“I have four kids,” said Kafentzis. “They are always banging themselves up. You wonder as a parent… We require that the coaches have concussion training, concussion protocol and programs, but the parents… we never equip them, so this is a tool that we can give to the parents so they can use it.”
Article Source: Fox 11