County takes concussion issue head-on - FOX 13 News

County takes concussion issue head-on

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It's the start of the school year, and that means high school football is right around the corner. 

It was a light workout at Sarasota County's Booker High School.  The start of the football season is a couple of weeks away.  But unlike past years, before these players hit the field they walked into a computer lab. 

Athletes completed the impact test. It's a neural exam that makes it easier for doctors to determine when it's safe for athletes to return to the field after suffering a concussion.

"What the test does, it allows us to know when the brain heals back to their baseline," said Keven Eichorn, athletic trainer at Booker. "If they have a concussion, we go back, we test them again, and then with the help of our sports medicine team – the acting physician at each school – we test again.  Until that test is equal to baseline, they can't return to play protocols."

The impact test uses patterns, words, letters, shapes and colors to measure memory, reaction time, speed and concentration.  In the past, the medical staff relied on whatever the athlete told them about his or her symptoms. 

But sometimes players lie.

"An athlete wants to get back on the field, so if they feel pretty good and they can do the entire test – even though they might be having some concussions and have some concentration problems – they won't tell us that.  Now, they can't lie," said Eichorn.

For more information on the test, visit

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