School of Hard Knocks
Concussion Assessment Program helps protect student atheletes
Although concussions have always been a problem for athletes, the public has become increasingly aware of them since the National Football League and other sports organizations acknowledged the issue.
“Concussions can be serious, and the damage can be cumulative if athletes are not given the proper time to recover,” says Tim McLane, manager of athletic training services at Georgia Regents Sports Medicine Center.
Even so, schools don’t always staff personnel who are trained to evaluate injuries and make informed decisions.
The Sports Medicine Center Takes the Field
Fortunately, the Sports Medicine Center has a team of certified athletic trainers who have earned bachelor’s or master’s degrees, passed a national certification exam, and are licensed in Georgia and South Carolina.
These trainers work to keep athletes at eight area schools safe and healthy. They will also be expanding into other schools. They are trained to help prevent, recognize and treat sports injuries, including concussions.
Baseline Neurocognitive Measurements
Using a 25-minute computer-based neurocognitive test administered at the schools, trainers determine each athlete’s baseline ability to react, recall, recognize and differentiate.
If players suffer injuries, they are re-evaluated after medical care. “By comparing the two scores, we pick up changes in neurocognitive function and determine the next steps to take,” McLane says.
Evaluating Injuries. Caring for Athletes.
The trainers also attend practice sessions and games to monitor play and evaluate injuries. “Our priority is always the health and well being of the athlete when deciding what to do after a potential injury,” says McLane.
“If medical care is needed, it is available through our Concussion Center,” McLane says. The center’s sports medicine physicians, neurologist and athletic trainers deliver multidisciplinary care, monitor patients’ progress and follow a strict return-to-play protocol.
For more information on the concussion assessment program, call Tim McLane at 706-721-0266. To schedule an appointment with a sports medicine physician, call 706-721-PLAY (7529).
Playing Offense Against Concussions
The Sports Medicine Center has placed certified athletic trainers at:
Augusta State University
Midland Valley High School
Westminster Schools of Augusta
Williston Elko High School
Silver Bluff High School
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