Clark County high school athletes given crash course on dangers of concussions
Dalton Gallenstein, a member of the George Rogers Clark¿High School soccer team, worked on the baseline concussion screening Tuesday. (Rachel Parsonsemail@example.com / August 10, 2011)
“Back then, it was just sit out of practice a couple days and you’re good to go. You might miss one game. It wasn’t a big deal,” Cowan said.
Now Cowan is in a different position, coaching the GRC boys junior varsity soccer team, and concussions, he said, are something that he and coaches in all contact and collision sports are taking much more seriously.
Thanks to a partnership with KORT Physical Therapy, all GRC athletes are eligible for baseline concussion screening for $5. The NFL and FIFA, an international soccer organization, recently conducted studies on the impact of concussions and have released new guidelines for a comprehensive concussion management program. While the guidelines are not mandatory, they help doctors and coaches make more educated decisions about when to allow athletes to return to practices and games, said Chris Sharrock, a doctor of physical therapy at Kort.
“You can think of it as a pre-season physical for your brain,” Sharrock said.
On Tuesday, both the boys and girls soccer teams, as well as members of the GRC football team, particpated in the baseline testing at the school. A computerized test assesses the students’ cognitive function and, in the case of a brain injury, the test can be re-administered so cognitive function can be compared.
“We know objectively if they’re ready to return to play or not,” Sharrock said.
Just because concussions are not uncommon in contact sports, Sharrock said, coaches and parents still need to treat them like any other head injury.
“The word concussion has gotten watered down a bit,” Sharrock said, despite the severity of the injury.
Cowan said that no soccer players suffered concussions in the 2010-2011 school year, but in the past, as many as two or three players have received concussions in a season.
“It’s tricky sometimes,” Cowan said of determining when athletes can return to play. “We’re hoping this will help a lot.”
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.