The Florida High School Athletics Association governs high-school sports across the state of Florida. Our Florida head injury lawyers are pleased to note that the FHSAA is implementing new protocols to protect student athletes from returning to the game after sustaining a suspected concussion.
The new guideline requires all student athletes who play on interscholastic teams in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to take a base-line neurospyschological evaluation or cognitive test before the season begins. This will help coaches, doctors, parents and players monitor and evaluate any head injury.
The goal is to keep injured players off the field until they have been fully evaluated and have recovered. This is particularly important as successive or multiple concussions can have a devastating effect on young brains. Brain injuries, like concussions, have been known to cause profound changes in personality, memory and interpersonal relationships.
The test being used in Miami is called “Immediate Post Concussion Cognitive Testing” (ImPACT) and is administered on-line. While the test generally takes thirty minutes to administer, a complete and thorough neurological exam is also required before a player can be cleared.
Currently, the program is designed for football, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, softball and lacrosse. According to a recent Miami Herald article, 2,800 students have taken the ImPACT test so far.
Since most parents and school coaches are not trained to recognize the subtle signs and symptoms of a concussion, we are concerned that injuries are often not diagnosed. The classic signs of a concussion are:
1. Dazed or confused appearance.
2. Moving clumsily.
3. Slow to respond to questions.
4. Loss of concentration.
5. Strange or unusual behavior.
6. Memory loss before, during and after the event.
Our Monroe county children’s injury law firm believe that the test should be administered to every student enrolled in public school as it could be used to identify children who have already suffered some form of concussion or brain injury so far undiagnosed or that occurred outside of school sports. In addition, it would place the student and coaches on notice that special precautions need to be put in place such as helmets, closer monitoring or abstaining from the sport entirely.
To read more about what to do after a concussion contact the Concussion Program Hotline at 720.777-2806 or visit The Children’s Hospital’s website.