Test helps detect concussions in student athletes

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - It may be summer, but student athletes at Greene County Tech took a test Friday to help them out later on in life.
They took a baseline test to note their current neurocognative abilities. If, later on in the season, they sustain a head injury, a new test can detect differences.
14-year-old Spencer Gramling is a basketball player at GCT, but before he hits the hardwood again in the fall, he's taking the test to help him out should he ever get a concussion. Spencer said the test is important for any athlete to take.
"I know some people who have had concussions who didn't know it until they went to a doctor," Spencer told Region 8 News.
Which is what the test will help spot. The software, called Impact, tests students on their neurocognative ability before the season starts, so that if a possible concussion happens later on, they can re-take the test. An athletic trainer or doctor can then compare the results and decide what's best for the student.
Athletic Trainer at AMMC, Heath Lamb said the test will keep the student from being negatively affected on the field and in the classroom.
"That way they're not slow, they're not having a slow reaction time or memory lapses," Lamb said.
It wasn't just football and basketball players taking the test, though.
"Concussions these days are a hot topic. You turn on ESPN these days and you hear about a concussion, no matter what sport," Athletic Trainer Johnny Grooms said.
Grooms told Region 8 News that they've implemented the program at GCT because it not only helps the kids, but the coaches as well.
"Helps us make return-to-play decisions and ensure the kid's safety from concussions," Grooms said.
He encourages other school districts to start using the program as well. Grooms said it isn't necessary for an athletic trainer or coach to administer the test. He also said it's very easy.
"They can print off the test results so that if they have a kid that may have an injury they can send it to a doctor and let the doctor make the determination on whether that kid is ready to return to play," Grooms said.
That's something that puts Spencer's mom, Shana's mind at ease.
"Concussion can happen in football, basketball, either one, and it's a bad thing so we need to be cautious of what's going on," Shana said.
Lamb said every day, they're learning more about the negative affects of concussions in young athletes.
"It can lead to early dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy...just some really bad medical disorders that is now starting to be linked with concussions," Lamb said.
He also stated it's not just big hits that cause problems.
"It can be little hits over time that can kind of combine to cause the major problems," he said.
GCT plans on testing 400 student athletes. On Friday, they tested around 100 and plan on finishing up testing next week.
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