Neurological Baseline Testing of High School Contact Sports Athletes
With modern day technology and the testing it allows, doctors are realizing the true frequency and severity of concussions and head trauma in high school athletes. One in five high school athletes will endure a concussion this season alone; 47% of all concussions are football related; and 33% of student athletes who suffer a concussion report suffering from 2 or 3 that year [CDC]. With concussion having such a presence in todays youth, we should transition away from reactive treatments to a more proactive approach. Upon an athlete receiving head trauma, he/she is taken to some form of emergency care to have images of their brain generated and analyzed. The problem with this, is that most student athletes don't have a prior brain scan on file. Without an image previous to the trauma occurrence, the doctor can only infer how the brain has been affected since injury.
I suggest moving forward, we imitate Illinois's position on concussions, by shadowing Dr. Michael J. Fox approach of proactive neurological testing. It is very cost efficient, and by conducting it on a holiday or in the summer leading up to the respective school year (when typical physicals are conducted); kids won't have to miss school thus voiding the number of public school days required by law. In addition, schools who comply will not only impact children's lives for a healthier better way; but could potentially receive money grants the schools so desperately need for assisting in ensuring their students well-being. With a more proactive approach, and better understanding of each athlete's brain we can transition to a healthier safer future for our student athletes and how we treat their inevitable injuries. The test takes 15 minutes and costs $20; a very time convenient cheap approach to assuring the children of today aren't 1 of the 5.3 million US individuals living with a traumatic brain injury related disability [CDC]. Injuries and sports aren't going anywhere, but our attitude and our approach to how we treat them can.