Sagemont H.S., Cleveland Clinic team up for concussion testing

Teen athletes participate in baseline brain function screening

Published On: Aug 09 2012 02:24:55 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 08 2012 09:36:53 AM EDT
Sagemont High School's Joe Kirby Jr. takes cognitive skills test
WESTON, Fla. -

Cleveland Clinic and Sagemont High School in Weston have teamed up to help reduce the risk of brain injuries children suffer after a concussion.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that the number of school age children with sports related concussions has doubled in the past decade.

"This is a serious health concern facing our community," said Dr. Daniel Grobman, a sports medicine specialist with Cleveland Clinic Florida.

The hospital is working with the school to administer a cognitive brain function test to high school athletes.

"What we're doing here is getting a baseline of how their brain works," said Grobman.

If an athlete suffers a head injury during play, the test could provide doctors and coaches with vital information.

"Through rehabilitation, adequate rest and potentially repeated testing, well be able to see the progression of the child and safely return them back to their sport," said Grobman.

Warning signs of a concussion include confusion, headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, slurred speech and fatigue.

"A lot of times these kids will be asymptomatic on the sidelines and some of these symptoms won't present for several hours after reassessment," said Grobman

Studies have shown that repeated concussion, especially in a developing brain, can lead to permanent damage years later.

"We want them to have a safe and happy time out there but we don't want them to have any life threatening injuries while they're out there," said Eric Simmonds, athletic director at Sagemont High School.

After suffering a concussion during a basketball game in 2011, 17-year-old Joe Kirby Jr. decided to take part in the pre-season screening test.

"It think it's a great way for kids to test themselves so if they have a concussion they can come back and test themselves again and see if something is actually wrong," he said.

"You're always going to err on the side of caution, you don't want any kid returning to the game if there's any question about it," said Simmonds.