Winter Springs Varsity Football players took a “brain exam” in front of a computer screen before they could run a single drill in preseason practice this week.
On Tuesday, 51 players along with 5 co-ed student trainers went through a 30-minute cognitive brain function exam designed to test short term and long term memory as a baseline for potential concussion injuries.
Winter Springs High is one of 21 schools partnering with Florida Hospital’s Sports Concussion program to document base line testing for all student athletes.
Nick Bonura, a senior at Winter Springs High School, is the captain and starting fullback for the football team.
Bonura sustained a “minor concussion” as a Junior Varsity player.
“I got back up and everything was ringing like you see in a war movie, everything is ringing but you don’t know what’s going on.”
Albert Northrup, a 15 year old freshman cornerback, says he was hurt when he was wrestling with a friend.
“I hit the ground and blacked out for about 20 seconds, I had ringing in my ears,“ he said.
Emily Villegas, head athletic trainer with Edgewater High School, says the base line test is “basically a preseason physical for your brain.”
Villegas says Edgewater uses the same impact testing with Florida Hospital for every sport, band and cheerleading.
She says in many cases students will deny experiencing any side effects after a head injury but the base line test calls their bluff.
“They can say they are feeling great but the test shows that they are not feeling great,” Villegas said.
The Florida High School Sports Association reports an estimated 400,000 student athletes will sustain “concussive injuries” every year.
Under Florida’s new concussion law, coaches, parents and students need to know the risks involved with sports and concussions.
The law also mandates removal of any athlete suspected of having sustained a concussion. The athlete must have written authorization from a “medical professional” before the athlete can return.
Baseline testing is not required by the Florida High School Sports Association or Florida law, but more and more schools are adding it to the sports protocol to make sure kids are not put at risk.
For more information on baseline testing go to: www.fhsportsmed.com/concussion