Life After Concussions
BATON ROUGE- Coaches and trainers are getting better at identifying concussions, but treating the brain injuries can be a different beast.
Central Physical Therapy uses a state of the art machine called the Biodex to calculate and catalog an athlete's pre-injury statistics and can compare that data to measurements collected after a suspected concussion.
"There are many aspects that are affected after a concussion, your balance, your vision, your ability to track, so those are all the different things that we train, when we're trying to get someone back from a concussion," said Erik Strahan, a Certified Athletic Trainer at Central Physical Therapy.
Strahan uses the Biodex paired with sport specific training to help concussion victims rehabilitate.
"At the beginning, I couldn't keep my balance or do anything I could normally do and then after I did all the exercises I got my balanced back, and I could react to things like I used to," said Kaitlyn Fife, a softball player in Central who suffered a concussion when she was hit by a pitch.
The hard numbers the Biodex offers allows trainers to make a better assessment and possibly get players back on the field quicker.
"Sometimes, because of the hard data, we see that it's safer for them to go back sooner than with the old system where they were automatically disqualified from competition for longer periods of time," said Strahan.
Ultimately, it's the doctor that makes the decision on when the player should return to the field, but the data can help aide in that decision.
Many schools still do not use baseline testing for athletes, though it's recommended, especially if an athlete is at high risk for a concussion. National data shows most high school athletes suffer concussions playing football, girls soccer and wrestling.
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