Teaching Community Members About Concussions in Youth Sports
The “Play Smart. Play Hard.” program at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas educates parents, teachers, coaches and students about concussions in youth sports. Designed for high schools and athletic clubs, the free program offers comprehensive interactive presentations based on Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
As part of the program, Scripps provides a simple, 20-minute, computerized test (called ImPACT) that evaluates each participant’s attention, memory, reaction time, problem-solving skills and processing speed. The test creates a baseline evaluation for young athletes who have never had a head injury. If participants suffer a concussion, they can retake the test, and clinicians can compare the results.
Since Scripps started the program three years ago, our staff members have made 15 presentations and more than 200 young athletes have taken the ImPACT test. Of those, 19 suffered head injuries and benefited from retaking the test. Today, the baseline measurements are proving invaluable in guiding treatment.