Student athlete concussion tests should be required
Studies have shown that concussions can potentially lead to brain aneurysms, Alzheimer’s disease, depression that can lead to suicide, and other permanent damage to the brain. Awareness of long-term brain injury is evident through the NFL’s decision this year to compensate retired football players who have shown symptoms of such brain damage. Therefore, in youth sports concussion baseline tests need to be mandatory for all athletes.
Concussions are a big problem faced in sports, whether it be professional, college or youth. Adult athletes and parents of youth participants need to understand how important it is to be evaluated for concussions prior to beginning your sports career or at least the season. A baseline test of the brain’s health can help trainers treat an athlete with a head injury more effectively.
Medical professionals who treat athletes have proven that the concussion baseline test allows them to know if the brain was impacted. It gives a doctor more evidence to determine if a student has or doesn’t have a concussion after getting hit in the head or after a big tackle. It would allow our trainers to accurately gauge when the athlete is ready to return to the field. This is important because it allows the professionals to know exactly when to put the athlete back onto the field. If someone with a concussion is put back into sports too early, there is a high chance of permanent damage to the brain.
Currently at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School, there is a concussion baseline test offered to evaluate pre-season cognitive functions. It costs $10. This is affordable, but unless the value of this test is known, athletes may opt out. In order for our student athletes to be treated effectively for head trauma, the concussion baseline test needs to be a mandatory test for all athletes.
The future of student athletes at Mount Abe will be brighter if this test is mandatory, similar to a doctor’s physical requirement to participate in practices and games. The Vermont Principals’ Association should consider requiring this test. The benefit of requiring all athletes to have this brain information is better health for life. It should be common sense to take advantage of the current opportunity of the optional concussion baseline test at Mount Abraham until such a mandate exists. A parent of a student athlete participating in the upcoming fall sports season is morally obligated to take advantage of the current opportunity of the optional concussion baseline test. It could be the best $10 ever spent.
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