You’ve heard about athlete’s being at a risk of concussions.
According to studies by the American Academy of Neurology, a concussion is a serious health issue for all athletes, regardless of age, gender, and type or level of sport played.
Injured athletes need clinical evaluation to make sure that they are not at risk for health problems.
Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, announced last month that he will be donating his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after he dies.
The foundation is dedicated to advancing the study, treatment, and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups.
The Hall of Fame football player says he’s forgetting simple daily tasks and driving directions and blames the years of hits he took on the football field.
Local doctors are taking their treatment of treating concussions to the next level with a preseason brain scan.
Dr. Jeff Sellman, M.D. with Florida Orthopedic Institute treats many athletes with concussion-related treatments.
He uses ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) to help evaluate and document multiple aspects of neurocognitive functioning, including memory, attention span, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussive symptoms.
The athletes take a basic online test with words and shapes.
“They measure memory and also reaction time. So, you can see how a healthy brain works and how it reacts before it gets injured,” says Dr. Sellman.
He explains that MRIs and CT scans normally don't pick up on a Concussion.
So, with this computer test, they can monitor yearly if the athletes brain is still sharp.
“To have collision sports and high impact sports have the testing like this to make sure they're still at the level they were before is very important,” he says.
The iMPACT test can be done every two years but Dr.Sellman says more parents want their children to get them every year, that way the results are more clear.
The Florida Orthopedic Institute isn't just taking care of its patients, they’re also taking care of athletes in Hillsborough County. They've teamed up with nearly 20 schools in the district to offer free iMPACT tests.
Mark Sakalosky has three kids. They're all involved in high impact sports.
His two sons play soccer. His daughter is a gymnast.
Recently. his oldest son's team all took this preseason brain scan.
“It was all done on a computer and none of the families really knew exactly what the test was all about but after the boys described it to us, after the fact, it made a lot of sense,” says Sakalosky.
Sakalosky says he and the other parents were surprised the test for concussions wasn't physical but mental.
“It's about reaction time and how quickly you process information,” he says.
This iMPACT test is done at high schools, colleges and universities across the county.
The database lets doctors see what age groups and sports are more prone to concussions.
Dr.Sellman recommends athletes as young as 12 start taking this iMPACT test.