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Concussions: What You Should Know for Back to School
KETTERING -- Baseline concussion testing: do you know what it is? Any parent who has a kid playing sports this fall should get educated on the subject, according to athletic trainers with Kettering Health Network.
The test compares your child's brain function before and after getting a concussion.
At Kettering's Fairmont High School, fall is in the air. Rousch Stadium is filled with helmets crashing, and football players crashing to the ground. In the stands is senior Brett Osborn, who knows just how dangerous the sport can be.
"I got hit, I came out, and I was kind of drained," Osborn said. He made the decision not to play football with his friends senior year, after a devastating concussion took him out of half his junior season.
"I was out of school for two weeks," Osborn added. "They changed my schedule to accompany me, and I suffered. My grades slipped a lot."
"A concussion occurs when there's either a blow to the head or the body, and it causes stretching to the nerves in the brain," said Robin Lensch with Kettering Health Network Sports Medicine. She's also the athletic trainer at Fairmont High School.
Concussions are most common in fall youth sports such as football and soccer. Lensch said she treated 60 students for concussions at the school last year, and 50 of them were student athletes.
"It's not actually physical like something you can see on a CT scan," Lensch said.
Fairmont's policy calls for all athletes to take a pre-test called a "baseline," to record verbal and visual memory, and motor speed. The results are stored to compare to results of the same post-concussion test.
"It's amazing, sometimes an athlete will tell me that their symptoms are almost gone and then when they are doing the test their symptom score is actually rather high," Lensch said.
"There was a noticeable change in his score after the concussion. That was another indicator that he needed that week off," said parent Mark Ray. His son was forced not to play in Fairmont's homecoming football game last year because of a concussion.
Mark noticed signs right away -- sensitivity to light, headaches and blood-pooled eyes -- and got help.
"Just know those symptoms," Lensch says. "A lot of times athletes will try to cover up what's going on."
"It was hard to make the decision not to play but I think I made the right one for my future," said Brett Osborn.
Baseline testing is a protocol for many but not all school districts in the Miami Valley.
Kettering Health Network offers the test free to students in districts with which they contract. The test is $10 for everyone else.
Dayton Children's Hospital offers it for free.
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