Free baseline concussion tests to be administered Saturday

Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 9:41 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 9:41 a.m.

On Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m., Athlete Brain, in conjunction with Health IMPACTS for Florida, will be administering free baseline concussion tests for children ages 9 to 18 at HealthStreet, 2401 SW Archer Road.


If you go

What: Free baseline concussion tests
Ages: For children 9 to 18
Where: HealthStreet, 2401 SW Archer Road
When: Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m.

Aliyah Snyder, founder of Athlete Brain and a research coordinator for Health IMPACTS for Florida, said a baseline concussion test “is basically a normal everyday measure of how you function, or how your child does, on domains that are typically affected by concussions.”

The tests will be administered and evaluated by trained University of Florida students using the Sport Concussion and Assessment Tool, a standardized method for assessing concussions.

Health IMPACTS for Florida is a collaborative effort at UF to do concussion surveillance and management, Snyder said.

“I am the research coordinator for Gainesville on that project, so I have trained graduate students and undergraduate students how to properly administer the SCAT (Sport Concussion and Assessment Tool,” Snyder said.

The SCAT is a paper-and-pencil test that provides a standardized method of evaluating athletes for concussions.

“They usually take no more than 15 minutes,” Snyder said. “We just need to have the child in isolation, and we’ll be measuring different aspects of normal functioning.”

Snyder said Athlete Brain looks for things like physical symptoms; how the children feel on a normal day, learning and memory, balance measures and coordination measures.

For children younger than 12, there is a section that involves a brief interview with the child’s parents.

Baseline concussion tests are meant to gather information on how an individual performs on the test prior to traumatic head injury. This way, if the child is injured, doctors have something with which to compare the results of the post-injury test.

This is important because many of the symptoms of concussions, such as learning, memory and balance, can be subjective.

“So if you go to a doctor’s office after you suspect that you have a concussion, it’s difficult for them to diagnose that, because with concussions there are no findings from neuroimaging, there’s no real hard and fast way of saying you have a concussion,” Snyder said.

Having a baseline test to compare post-injury tests with provides doctors with an objective measure of what exactly has changed.

Participants will receive a printed copy of their test results to share with health care providers in the event of a potential concussion. They also might choose to have their results logged into a database to assist future concussion research in children and help improve the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool.

“This is just a way to help you stay safer in your sport, and it’s just a good idea for really anyone to have done,” Snyder said.

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