Tuesday, August 30, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Mayo Clinic announces the extension of the statewide baseline cognitive concussion testing initiative to middle school students in Arizona. In early June, Mayo Clinic announced that it would provide baseline cognitive concussion testing to all high school athletes in Arizona at no cost. Now, all youth athletes involved in middle school sports can receive complimentary baseline cognitive concussion testing.
Baseline and after-injury cognitive concussion testing measures how the brain is working before and after a concussive brain injury. The testing is mandated in professional and collegiate athletics but not in scholastic athletics involving youth athletes. The Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool will be available at no cost to the athlete when they receive an access voucher from Mayo Clinic. The test can be taken from any computer with Internet access, takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and the athlete or parent can share the results with athletic trainers and directors, as well as health care providers of their choice. Since cognitive (brain) functions such as information processing speed, learning and memory often recover more slowly than other physical symptoms, it is important to monitor the results of this test after an injury to be able to determine when its truly safe for the athlete to return to play. Mayo Clinic can provide evaluation of patients with concussions beginning at age 12.
Since Mayo Clinic first announced the complimentary baseline testing for high school athletes in June, more than 30,000 access vouchers (and counting) have been distributed throughout the state. The potential for serious long-term effects from concussion has caused concern and prompted the passing of legislation in Arizona — Senate Bill 1521. The new law prohibits an athlete who has had a concussion from returning to play until cleared by a licensed health care provider. The particular vulnerability of the brain to concussion at young ages also highlights the need for accurate diagnosis and proper care for youth and adolescent athletes.
Mayo Clinic recently held the first Arizona Concussion Summit for coaches, athletic directors, trainers, medical professionals and others concerned about concussion issues. The summit focused on recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussion, the changes in brain function that occur after concussion, the particular vulnerability of the developing brains of children and adolescents, the proper evaluation and management of the concussed athlete, and the role of baseline and after-injury testing in helping health care providers make return-to-activity decisions.
For more information or to obtain access to take the computerized cognitive concussion test, student athletes, parents, coaches, athletic trainers and school athletic directors in Arizona can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online.
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