Free concussion testing available on Saturday

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 5:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 5:52 p.m.

Concussions are tricky to diagnose, medical experts say, but a community research project is trying to make that easier.

One of the methods used to identify and assess concussions, baseline concussion testing, will be offered free to children ages 9 through 18 on Saturday and again on Feb. 2. The evaluations will be administered by trained University of Florida graduate students from noon to 4 p.m. both Saturdays at HealthStreet, 2401 SW Archer Road.

Baseline concussion testing evaluates how an individual functions on a normal day so that if a concussion is suspected in the future the test results can be compared.

The copy of the results that participants receive can be given to health providers as needed. The participants can also choose to allow their results to be anonymously submitted to a database for future concussion research in children.

The event is sponsored by the Concussion Surveillance and Management Research Program led by Health IMPACTS for Florida, a collaborative effort between UF and Florida State University.

The test will measure cognition, balance and symptom assessment, according to Aliyah Snyder, research coordinator for the event and founder of Athlete Brain, an organization that aims to promote discussion, awareness and education about sports concussions.

Snyder said Florida is moving toward legislation requiring baseline testing for youth athletes and this opportunity gives parents a chance to benefit from it now.

Snyder said the test itself should take no longer than 10 or 15 minutes and encourages anyone, not just athletes, to get tested.

The key to reducing negative outcomes, she said, is proper recovery and treatment.

“It’s important for everyone, concussions are not easily diagnosed.”

Snyder’s organization, Athlete Brain, will also be there to provide concussion-related resources and information.

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