PHOENIX, Ariz. (KPNX) – The beginning of a new school year is here, and so is football testing. However, despite all the excitement, the game is in crisis. Youth participation numbers are dwindling and fear of concussions is the major reason why. Doctors in Arizona are trying to quell some of those fears and keep kids safe.
Young athlete, Alan Soukup helped with testing by answering a few simple questions on a computer at Banner University. The program tested his brain function at a baseline level before the season starts.
Dr. Evan Werk says it’s the best way to make sure athletes who suffer head injuries are fully recovered before returning to play.
“Our goal with baseline testing is really to get some objective measurements to compare someone to themselves to make sure they are completely better,” said Werk, “Having some objective measurement of their brain function is really the gold standard for being confident about returning someone to a collision sport after a concussion or head injury.”
The test can help young athletes like Soukup receive a personalized diagnosis.
“As crazy as it sounds,” says Alan’s mother, Jane Soupkup, “Your kid is out there on the field, we do feel at peace saying ‘Okay. If something does happen – this is where he was at and now take a look to see if an injury has really occurred.”
“It’s a tool we can use to diagnose concussion, but most importantly it helps us make sure their brain function returns to normal,” says Dr. Werk.
Many sports medicine programs perform similar baseline testing.
It’s not just for football. Hockey and even soccer are sports seeing the most concussions.