Concussion Awareness and Baseline Testing

Concussion Awareness and Baseline Testing

Being an athlete to some people is sacrificing your time, health and life to the sport you love. No matter what sport you play, you must sacrifice your time and health to succeed. While broken bones and scrapes heal, athletes usually don’t think too much about their injuries after they are cleared to play again but once your head hits the ground and a concussion is diagnosed, are all the MRI’s and having to sit out really worth it?

Morgan La Sala, a senior at Wayne Valley, is like any other student athlete. She plays field hockey, lacrosse and she also ski races. La Sala is also a member of Girl Scouts and has just finished up her Gold Award. “I struggled to find a topic that was meaningful but could also have a long-lasting impact.” stated La Sala,  “My mom had heard about baseline testing so she mentioned it to me. I did more research and talked to other girl scouts. I realized that many other high schools were already baseline testing their athletes.”

Standard protocol after being diagnosed with a concussion is no electronics, avoid bright lights and no sports for a whole week. After being cleared by both your doctor and the athletic department in the school, you can slowly begin to make your way back into sports. Yet, how do they really know if your symptoms are really gone? Maybe you are just faking it to get back into the game. The science behind concussions and determining whether or not you are cleared of your symptoms, is up to the game of chance. However, with new technology on the rise, it may be easier to determine if the symptoms are still there or not.

Baseline Testing is a computer based test that athletes take before participating in sports. If during the season an athlete gets a head injury, they will take the test again and the results will be compared to the results from the first test; “This helps physicians and trainers diagnose the injury and determine return to play protocol” stated La Sala. To put together all the information that is centered around Baseline testing and concussions, La Sala made a documentary promoting concussion awareness and baseline testing.

Working alongside the athletic directors at both Wayne Valley and The Boys & Girls Club, La Sala was able to complete her Gold Award and spread her knowledge on baseline testing to all levels of sports. She explains,  “This project will benefit all athletes by making the athletic community safer. Concussions can have detrimental long term effects, especially if athletes return to play before they are completely healed. Hopefully, baseline testing will help prevent the long term damage.”

Along with speaking to the Athletic Directors in the schools and at the younger level, Morgan also talked to Susan Ginart, a neurology nurse practitioner, and Dr. Thomas, an emergency room physician in Wayne. Both gave La Sala more information on the testing and concussions which expanded her knowledge, complete her award and bring awareness to the sports community.   

The documentary was uploaded to YouTube, as well as the Wayne Boys & Girls Club Facebook page. Mr. Drozjock, the Athletic Director at Wayne Hills, the Wayne PAL and in neighboring towns, such as Hawthorne, received the documentary in hopes to get Baseline testing started in Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills, as well as at the younger level.