Allegany Hospital to Pre-test Athletes for Concussions

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Jones Memorial Hospital is offering free screenings for area youth prior to the start of the spring sports season.

The pre-season concussion screenings are part of a larger effort to better assess injuries suffered during the course of the game.

Using Wellsville High School as a pilot participant, the hospital’s Biodex Concussion Management Program will provide free screenings and assessments for students planning to play soccer, football and other physical contact sports. Plans call for expanding the effort to other local schools and athletes beginning this fall.

When a concussion is suspected, physicians can better diagnose and manage the student’s condition using baseline tests and post-injury assessments. The data will also allow a more accurate measure of recovery and help determine when it is safe for the student to return to play.

The Biodex Balance Assessment Program for Concussion Management is a product of Long Island-based Biodex Medical Systems Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of medical devices and equipment for physical medicine, nuclear medicine and medical imaging applications. The Biodex clinical test for sensory integration of balance involves four 20-second trials that assess the athlete’s balance.

Implementation of the program follows efforts at other area schools to better care for student athletes dealing with concussion, many implemented after the enactment of New York’s Concussion Management and Awareness Law, which set minimum guidelines regarding removal from play, physician clearance, and “return to play” protocols for youth with sports-related brain injuries.

Others providing similar services include the Sports Concussion Center and the Play Safe program at Excelsior Orthopaedics of Amherst; and the Program for Understanding Childhood Concussions and Stroke (PUCCS), a collaborative program between the University at Buffalo and the Dent Neurology Institute.