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Michigan Sets Precedent By Testing for Concussions in Schools

Michigan Sets Precedent By Testing for Concussions in Schools

In October, we asked our readers if schools should continue to have football teams after six high school football players died during practice or game time this season alone.

It may seem like a radical notion, but the idea has been passed around due to a recent outpouring of information that suggests football is irreversibly harming many young students; a survey published earlier this year from the Children's National Health System revealed that students who suffered from concussions are seriously concerned about their academic performance in the following weeks of recovery.

As opposed to banning the sport altogether, 62 schools in Michigan are participating in a pilot program that seeks to perform "baseline testing of athletes in football and other sports to help with concussion diagnosis,” said ABC News.

Baseline testing — a combination of memory, reaction time, attention and stress assessments — is done in major pro sports because it is considered an objective and individualized tool to help decide whether to remove an athlete from a game. The NCAA recommends baseline testing of all college athletes. While all states have laws that address preventing concussions in youth sports, many are weak and none require baseline testing.

In other words, the Michigan pilot program is taking measures to protect students who participate in the sport without having to consider getting rid of the sport entirely.

Jack Roberts, Michigan High School Athletic Association executive director, told ABC News that the pilot program is helping schools to make smarter decisions when it comes to removing players from games and having the training to detect players who might have concussions.

Many experts are applauding the efforts, but some worry that implementation from copy-cat schools will lose the effectiveness when schools lack the resources available, specifically full-time trainers.

At the very least, however, baseline and sideline assessments require minimal time (30 minutes and five minutes, respectively) and are critical in helping to determine when young athletes are ready to go back and play.

The next step in the pilot program is to design a funding model for states struggling with budget issues to use when implementing on their own.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

12/23/2015

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