As an athletic trainer who works at a high school, concussions and other head injuries are always a concern. Like most injuries, concussions are unpredictable and one may not know when one is about to occur. Because of this, athletic trainers should always be prepared to evaluate and treat a possibly concussed athlete. Thanks to a scholarship from the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, I was able to attend the Fourth Annual Concussion Across the Spectrum of Injury symposium at the NYU School of Medicine and increase my knowledge to help prepare for future concussion injuries at my high school.
There are many injuries that an athletic trainer may have to deal with on a day to day basis and that may be easily detected. One example may be laxity in the knee joint, indicating possible ligament damage. Or tenderness to palpation and observable swelling to the lateral ankle after an athlete “rolls” their ankle may indicate a common ankle sprain. These injuries differ from concussion injuries in the way that a person can assess them. Often times concussion evaluations cannot be done in a timely manner. This can be a challenge for an athletic trainer who is trying to determine if an athlete is able to get back into an important game.
There are ways that we as athletic trainers can perform our concussion evaluations in a timely, and more efficient manner. Setting up baselines is a very good idea and makes our evaluations more accurate. Using tests that can be used and referred to on the sideline would be best. Before attending the concussion symposium at NYU school of medicine I had been using the SCAT3 in my evaluations. Now I plan on also incorporating the King-Devick test. The KD test includes a vision portion which the SCAT3 does not.
I recently learned that vision encompasses more than 50 percent of the brains pathways. This is an alarming fact when you realize that many concussion assessments are done without the use of a vision test. After adding the KD test to my high schools tools of evaluating concussions I will feel more comfortable about the safety of my athletes. Coaches and parents can also be involved in the safety of student athletes because this test can easily be learned by most adults.
I strongly suggest all athletic trainers and coaches to invest their time and energy into learning and incorporating baseline testing, specifically with the SCAT3 and KD test. I can honestly say that if I did not attend the Fourth Annual Concussion Across the Spectrum of Injury symposium at the NYU School of Medicine I would not be aware of the KD test at this point in my career. I can not thank NYU enough for hosting this event and I would also like to thank all the people who presented that day. It has been a great help to me and will definitely be of help to my student athletes.
– John Averette, certified athletic trainer
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