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An easy tool for secondary school athletic trainers to assess traumatic brain injury

Most of the time in high schools and colleges, athletic trainers are the first to diagnose and provide care to a young athlete when he or she suffers injury.  Traumatic brain injury or concussion is one of the most common injuries suffered by young athletes during fall sports. Proper diagnostic and response are crucial to prevent further injury or even death.

Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have been working for several years on finding a test that can be quick, efficient and easy to use for busy athletic trainers and other healthcare providers.  So far they found that the Visio-Vestibular Exam is a  reliable test that can be performed in a few minutes to find out if someone suffers from concussion. Last year we wrote a blog about the various elements of this test and recently researchers at the CIRP confirmed its efficiency. Researchees made additional research  to detect if the visio vestibular performances in healthy athletes might change between the beginning and the end of sport season. They found that there was no difference in the performance of the visio vestibular of  healthy athletes before the sport season and after the sport season, therefore supporting the previous findings that visio vestibular deficiencies can be attributed to concussion.

Quick and efficient

Athletic trainers have often a lot to juggle with especially during fall sport pre-season such as orientation for new athletes, checking pre-participation physicals, establishing procedures with coaches and administrators. While baseline concussion testing is not deemed necessary anymore at the beginning of the season, athletic trainers should definitely consider including a Visio-Vestibular Exam in their toolbox . The exam does not need to be performed necessarily at the beginning of the season.  It can be performed anytime and only takes 3 to 5 minutes to be completed.

Read more on the Center for Injury Research and Prevention’s blog