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Kids and Concussions: ImPACT testing, an important tool used to evaluate the recovery from brain injuries February 12, 2010

Posted by intebic in Uncategorized.
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January 05, 2010, 10:33PM
By Matthew Stanmyre and Jackie Friedman/The Star-Ledger

Robert Rollo had to face an unwavering opponent before he could return to the playing field after suffering a concussion: the computer.

The Glen Ridge High School football player was asked to remember words, shapes and colors for 25 minutes, repeating a test he had taken just months earlier. The light from the flickering screen bothered his head and Rollo struggled to concentrate.

He failed the test; his return to the field would have to wait.

As doctors and athletic trainers learn more about the severity of concussions, precautionary steps to treat the injury are being taken by many New Jersey high schools and youth leagues. The most significant progress in high schools has been the addition of ImPACT testing, a neuro-psychological exam that is given to athletes and provides a baseline score available for comparison after an athlete sustains a concussion.

At the youth level, volunteer coaches are being instructed — and sometimes mandated — to take the Rutgers S.A.F.E.T.Y. course, which is designed to provide coaches with basic teaching and safety principals.

“These are still teenagers who have lives ahead of them and careers ahead of them,” said Debbie Kusant, whose 13-year-old son suffered from severe brain injury in a youth soccer game. “You really have to take these things seriously.”

In high school sports alone, more than 400,000 concussions occurred nationwide last year. It’s impossible to know how many thousands more occurred in youth sports. What is known is a brain injury epidemic has prompted growing awareness across the sports landscape.

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