All student-athletes in the Coweta County School System are now undergoing baseline concussion testing to ensure proper treatment in case of a brain injury.
“We know it’s a serious matter, and in athletics it unfortunately occurs,” Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Coweta County Board of Education. “Over the years, we’ve been looking at implementing a way of dealing with it.”
After a community member brought the idea of concussion impact testing to the school system, Director of Student Services Evan Horton researched the concept and what resources would be needed.
A baseline concussion is a computer-based neurocognitive test that measures reaction time, memory, mental processing speed and executive function. It is part of preseason preparation, taken before training and competition.
Coweta schools are using the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test, which currently is used by more than 7,000 high schools and 1,000 colleges and universities. All Coweta County School System trainers have been certified in the administration of impact testing and in reading the results.
Baseline testing will allow comparisons between pre- and post-injury results to create a treatment plan for individual student-athletes. The purpose of baseline testing is to prevent concussed student-athletes from returning to action before their brains are completely healed.
Injured athletes will be required to pass a post-injury test and successfully complete the school system’s return-to-play protocol.
“We hope we never have to use the post-injury test,” Horton said, adding that student-athletes will have to be cleared by a medical professional to enter into the school system’s return-to-play program.
“We do all we can to keep our student-athletes safe,” he said.