October 11, 2012 by kujhawk
New concussion testing requirements from the Lawrence school district is helping to keep athletes healthy and reduce risk of serious head injuries.
Dunbar: At Lawrence Free State High School, the football team is looking strong with a five-and-one record heading into district play. But this season, it is not all about winning the district championship, but about keeping players healthy enough to make it there.
[Background noise: Team warming up for practice.]
Dunbar: For the first time this season, players have been required to do imPACT testing – a program that measures players’ baseline reaction times and neurological functioning through reaction and memory based tests. With head injuries becoming more common in all levels of football, Free State head coach Robert Lisher says this helps trainers and coaches determine if a player is suffering from a concussion.
Dunbar: Lisher says that if a player suffers what is thought to be a concussion-related injury, the team’s trainer is able to look at the player’s initial imPACT test results immediately to see if he meets his baseline numbers. If the player’s reaction time or memory does not match his initial test numbers, medical personnel can diagnose a concussion right on the field.
Lisher: “They have to go through that immediately, that way they have a baseline estimate as to what the athlete did.”
Dunbar: For a player like Jake Rogers, a junior wide receiver and linebacker who had a concussion earlier this season, this means faster results and less time off the field.
Rogers: “I went to LMH South and did the concussion testing or imPACT testing and my reaction speed had dropped by a third, so I wasn’t allowed to play for two weeks and I had to miss a week of practice.”
Dunbar: For future cases similar to Jake’s, the imPACT test looks to be a valuable tool.
Dunbar: “For Words That End In Ball, I’m Evan Dunbar.”