UP Trainer testing for concussions on the sideline

UP Trainer testing for concussions on the sideline

CALUMET — The Michigan High School Athletic Association is taking part in a national pilot program to test students who may have just suffered a concussion.

Aspirus Keweenaw’s Dorothy Jamison is the only Upper Peninsula Athletic Trainer using a new sideline test. She has been using the program at Calumet and Lake Linden–Hubbell games since the start of the school year.

Athletic Trainer Dorothy Jamison said, “The King–Devick Test is a sideline tool used by 35 member schools of the MHSAA, and it’s a tablet–based visual acuity test to look at visual impairment, language impairment, and concentration issues if we suspect a concussion has occurred during a contest or a practice.”

The test looks at things such as how fast a student can read a set of numbers and compares the results to a baseline test given previously.

“And then, if you have a concussion, areas of your brain—which we can’t see—will be affected. So, your speech may be slurred, your vision might be off, you might be not able to concentrate on the lines and the patterns of numbers that you’re supposed to read out loud to me,” said Jamison.

The test takes less than two minutes to give and the results are shared with the coaches and parents.

“They’re willing to accept a more quantitative test, as opposed to me just saying their balance is off, their speech is off—all the things I could say,” Jamison explained. “This is a nice thing that’s quantitative enough for them to see that, ‘Yes, my child has a concussion’, and the next step is to take them to the doctor.”

Players that have suffered a brain injury must be cleared by a doctor before resuming athletics.