Concussion testing has an impact

By Zach Hamada/Eagle Post staff

     Whether it is professional athletes or students competing at the high school level, it is public information that players play hurt. In just about any contact sport there is a fair risk of injury and as time goes by, the game moves faster and the hits get harder. People often overlook the fact that an athlete is playing with a banged up knee or a sore shoulder, but playing with a head injury has always raised eyebrows. With much more research being done on concussions, doctors, athletic trainers, and athletes are beginning to realize how dangerous they really are.     A concussion is an injury to the brain that impairs coordination, reflexes and judgment. If an athlete suffers too many concussions they could suffer from severe brain damage. This makes playing with a concussion extremely dangerous.

     This year many high schools, including Monona Grove, require players who play contact sports to take a concussion test. This testing is called impact testing and is performed through UW Health. Players have to take an impact test at the beginning of the season to measure short-term memory and reaction times. These test results give a baseline score. When a player suffers a concussion, he/she must take another test and the results are compared to measure the severity of the concussion. Once a player takes the test and is back to his or her baseline, he or she is cleared to play. However, UW Health encourages children and young adults to sit out from athletic activities for up to three months.

“The person who suffers the concussion is the only one who is able to tell that there is something wrong making it very subjective,” athletic trainer Ann Klitz said.  “Many times when a concussion is more severe and the person is dizzy or slurring their speech it is easy to tell.”

Monona Grove running back Matt Besch learned the hard way when suffering a minor concussion in week 3 of the football season and played the very next week.

“I knew something was wrong, but in the week 4 I took a hit to the back of the head and walked off of the field really dizzy and became nauseous,” Besch said.

Monona Grove’s star running back had taken the impact baseline test and went to UW Health and failed a concussion test.

After many attempts at the test, Besch finally reached his baseline and returned to play in week 8 after taking three weeks of rest. UW Health’s impact testing is making it much safer for athletes with concussions. With impact testing UW Health is preventing many  headinjuries and making players rest up and make a full recovery before returning to the playing field.

According to usatoday.com, after too many concussions a brain could possibly begin to swell overwhelmingly and leave the patient with brain damage or even cause the patient to become brain dead. Baseline impact testing is now beginning to be used in the military for soldiers. When soldiers sit out from duty because of their injuries, players often don’t.

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