Free Baseline Concussion Testing Helps Improve Concussion Severity Diagnoses

By on September 24th, 2013

Robbie Del Castillo, 21, suffered his first concussion while playing lacrosse during his senior year of high school. In the past year, he’s had three more.

Del Castillo has never taken a baseline concussion test, a test that analyzes different domains of the brain prior to injury as a basis for diagnosing potential future injury, nor has he heard of it.

“When I went to the doctor, there was no actual data on how much I had regressed, besides me saying I didn’t feel the same anymore,” he said.

In order to improve diagnoses of concussion severity, organizations Athlete Brain and Health IMPACTS for Florida have teamed to provide free baseline concussion testing for children between the ages of 9 and 18.

The goals of Athlete Brain are to improve education about concussions and provide baseline concussion testing to the community.

Health IMPACTS for Florida was established by the University of Florida and Florida State University to conduct research and better the health of Floridians.

The baseline concussion test takes about 15 minutes and looks at the different domains of the brain that are affected by concussions, said Aliyah Snyder, founder of Athlete Brain and research coordinator for Health IMPACTS for Florida. Learning and memory are tested with a written test, and balance and coordination are tested with a physical test.

The Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) is used to analyze the tests. A new and recently developed version of the tool, SCAT3, was used to analyze the baseline concussion tests done by Athlete Brain during the past month. As of now, Athlete Brain has collected data from about 30 children using the SCAT3.

Between 15 and 20 children were tested on Saturday, some as young as 5 years old.

Athlete Brain and Health IMPACTS for Florida usually provide free baseline concussion testing once a month in hopes of collecting enough data to create a normative database, Snyder said.

Testing began in August 2011 with the SCAT2, but have since switched to the SCAT3. Establishing norms will allow doctors to better diagnose the severity of the injuries of patients who have not taken the test, she said.

Dr. Jason Zaremski of the UF Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation practices at the UF Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute. He said baseline concussion testing is important because doctors are able to get a cognitive and physical assessment of young athletes.

“It is very helpful to have a broad picture of what my patient was like before a concussion,” Zaremski said.

Free baseline concussion testing will be offered on Sept. 26 at F.W. Buchholz High School, 5510 NW 27th Ave. in Gainesville, for the women’s lacrosse team.

Baseline concussion testing is not limited to athletes. Snyder said it’s easy to get a concussion no matter who you are.

“You can get a concussion as easily by walking down the street and tripping over your own feet as you can by getting hit in the head with a soccer ball,” Snyder said.

This entry was posted in Health and Science. Bookmark the permalink.

More Stories in Health and Science

Photo by Sarah Kimbro.

CDC Hopes This Year’s Flu Shots Will Be More Effective

Experts predict that this year’s flu shot will be more effective at combatting the flu strain than in year’s past. They recommend visiting clinics or local drug stores to get vaccinated in early October, before the peak of flu season.

Dorothy Mitchell (far right) listens to Herman Hale, the director of nursing at the Florida Department of Health in Marion County, explain that keeping the 911 dispatcher on the phone while administering CPR can help them best assess the situation before they arrive. The Florida Department of Health partnered with several organizations to train citizens and employees of Florida counties in Hands-Only CPR.

Marion County Offers Free Hands-Only CPR Training

Marion County is one of 67 counties offering free Hands-On CPR training through the Florida Department of Health for World Heart Day. Partnering with the American Heart Association, the goal is to raise awareness of heart disease and shed light on how CPR can double or even triple the survival rate of a victim.

Peanut Corporation Owner Faces Life Sentence For Salmonella Outbreak

Steve Parnell, the owner of the Peanut Corporation of America was sentenced to 28 years in prison due to a salmonella outbreak. The outbreak was due to the company not following food sanitation rules, said Keith Schneider, a professor in UF’s College of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Flavored Hand Sanitizers Dangers

Hand Sanitizer Leads to Increased Cases of Alcohol Poisoning

Hand sanitizer is supposed to stop people from getting sick from the flu, but small children are becoming sick from drinking the stuff, which smells good and comes in bright colors that appeal to them.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Guide Helps Transgender Community Connect With Health Care Providers

A new comprehensive guide published by TransAction Florida seeks to connect members of the transgender community with qualified doctors and other health care providers and resources.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments