Local youth league leads the way in testing for concussions

Below, Fayette County Community Youth Football member Nick Brown works with a youngster taking the concussion baseline test given to the organization’s football players and cheerleaders. Photo/Submitted.
Fayette County Community Youth Football member Nick Brown (top right) works with a youngster taking the concussion baseline test given to the organization’s football players and cheerleaders. Photo/Submitted.
A concussion testing measure adopted by the Fayette County Community Youth Football (FCCYBF) organization for its young football players and cheerleaders in 2010 is paying benefits.
The baseline testing data for the leagues’ participants came as a benefit for one of the youngsters after a automobile accident and for another while playing lacrosse.
Organization President Mark Brown said, “FCCYFB has taken the lead on the recognition and prevention of concussion-related injuries.
“Football is statistically one of the safest sports for young players, however the media has added notoriety to concussions in football.
“In the event of a suspected head injury, one of the first evaluations is a cognitive test.
“Too often, or almost always, there is no ‘baseline’ test to evaluate any loss of cognitive ability. FCCYFB is committed to providing a safe environment for children to enjoy this great game of football. In addition all coaches are required to complete a training course on concussion recognition,” Brown said.
Though not needed as a result of football or cheerleading activities to date, Brown said two league members did have their test data utilized while engaging in other activities.
Baseline test data was used for one youngster after a car accident and another after a lacrosse injury.
The baseline test for concussion prevention given to football players and cheerleaders, and in partnership with Piedmont Fayette Hospital and ImPact Pediatric and at no cost to parents, is much like an insurance policy, Brown said.
As a preventative measure, a Baseline Concussion Test is typically taken prior to a sport season when an athlete has not yet had exposure to training and/or competition.
In the event a concussion is received during the season, the same test (a “post-injury”) is taken again by the athlete, yielding comparative scores from before and after the injury.
These tests are computerized assessments that measure reaction time, memory capacity, speed of mental processing and executive functioning of the brain.
They also record baseline concussion symptoms and provide extensive information about the athlete’s history with concussions, Brown explained.
Brown said a Baseline Concussion Test is an important piece to concussion management.
“Each concussion is unique, so it is important to treat individuals on a case-by-case basis. Comparing post-injury test scores of an individual to their own baseline test scores from before the concussion is considered best practice,” Brown said.
“Without a baseline test to use for comparison, an individual’s post-injury test scores can only be compared to the general population. Whenever possible, we want to compare apples to apples, and Baseline Concussion Tests allow us to do just that.
“Also, because baseline testing usually occurs early in the season, the very act of getting tested will raise concussion awareness for athletes, parents and coaches.
“Starr’s Mill Youth Football strongly recommends all players receive a baseline concussion test at the beginning of the season. This test can be used for other sports in case of head injuries,” Brown noted.
For more information on FCCYBF visit www.fayettecountyfootball.com.