ISHPEMING — High school sports are under way, and it’s not only the students that are in training but also the coaches and athletic trainers. Michigan sports teams are piloting new sideline tests to check for concussions.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association started the 2015-16 sports year coaching the athletic staff of 70 of their member high schools. They weren’t drilling on the field or court though, instead on the sideline and in the classroom. The athletic staff at these schools learned pilot sideline tests for dealing with the different stages of a concussion.
MHSAA Executive Director Jack Roberts says, “We wanted to try two very different approaches. One that focus primarily on the detection and removal from play part of the concussion continuum, and another program that deals not only with that, but goes also into the recovery and return to play.
They were also trained in record keeping of those possible concussion events. Michigan is the first state association to offer pilot sideline concussion testing and will be the first to mandate record-keeping of possible concussions.
“We want to have the data that will help the medical community,” added Roberts, “as well as the rules makers of school sports, and equipment makers. We want them to have the data to help us make school sports even safer.”
These requirements are for both practices and events for all sports, grades seven to 12.
“There’s been a lot of attention focused on football regarding head safety, but the fact is that all school sports need attention to the safety of the student athletes, in particularly safety to the head.”
The two tests are called the King-Devick test and the XLNTbrain Sport.
Roberts says, “The rules are stronger than they’ve ever been, and officials have never had more authority than now to enforce those safety rules and our coaches have never been better educated in the areas of health and safety. So we wanted to combine all of that and give our coaches some resources to go out into their community.”
The MHSAA drew schools representing all four classes for the process, and will monitor about 10,000 student athletes. There are two U.P. school systems who are pilot testing the King-Devick test – Calumet and Lake Linden-Hubble.