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Concussion exam ‘like a video game’
When school starts up, so do youth sports programs.
Before your child signs up to play, consider signing up first for a “baseline” concussion test — a simple and inexpensive computerized test that is a vital part of a larger effort “to prevent, adequately treat and ultimately allow a youth athlete to safely return to action,” said Rhonda Curry, assistant administrator of strategic development at Olympic Medical Center.
Jean Rickerson, president of SportsConcussions.org, said the test is “fast, reliable and accurate.” It’s also safe and simple. “It’s like a video game,” Rickerson said.
Rickerson, whose son Drew suffered a serious concussion while playing football at Sequim High, has been working for years to provide baseline testing for peninsula athletes — and to athletes across the U.S. SportsConcussions.org now has national reach and has been featured in articles in The New York Times and USA Today.
First things first
“We believe very strongly that computerized baseline testing is a necessary part of a good concussion management program for athletes in every school district and private youth sports league,” Rickerson said. “Our goal is to test as many youth athletes as possible during this campaign.”
SportsConcussions.org will use the Axon Sports baseline test for Olympic Peninsula athletes. The Axon Sports Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool is used to measure an athlete’s brain speed and accuracy. The online baseline test is taken before the sports season begins to provide a benchmark for comparison after a suspected concussion. The test measures brain function — attention, working memory, speed and accuracy in thinking. Results are stored and can be shared with qualified medical providers to help them make decisions about when an athlete is ready to return to the classroom, practice, or competitive play.
Testing is provided in partnership with Olympic Medical Center, Olympic Medical Physicians-Orthopedics, and Peninsula College.
“I greatly appreciate the tremendous support from Olympic Medical Center, Peninsula College, and Clallam County Fire District #3. We could not have offered our iBaseline program to area athletes without their help. They are true community partners,” Rickerson said.