As knowledge about the dangers of concussions in sports continues to grow, Mayo Clinic will make baseline concussion testing available at no cost to more than 100,000 high school student athletes in Arizona leading up to the 2011-2012 sports season.
The baseline concussion testing initiative comes on the heels of the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1521, which requires that high school athletes who have sustained a head injury be barred from further physical activity until they’re cleared by a licensed health care provider. The law also requires schools to educate coaches, students and parents about the dangers of concussions.
Baseline concussion testing measures how the brain is working before injury, and has recently been recommended by the Arizona Interscholastic Association for all scholastic athletes. The Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool will be available through benefactor support and Mayo Clinic at no cost to the athlete. The test can be taken from any computer with Internet access, takes 8-15 minutes to complete, and the athlete or parent can share the results with health care providers of their choice.
“The diagnosis of concussion, assessment of its severity, and knowing when an athlete can return to physical activity, competition, work or school is not always clear,” said David Dodick, M.D., a Professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and President of the American Headache Society. “Having a baseline concussion assessment for each athlete will assist in a physician’s ability to identify and quantify a change in brain function, and determine when the athlete has returned to his or her baseline.”