Concussion baseline tests offered for student athletes

The school sports season is right around the corner, so it's a good time for parents and students to start planning ahead should a sports injury happen. That's why Munson Healthcare is teaming up with Traverse City Area Public Schools for a concussion baseline program.

For years, soccer has been a major part of Lauren Collins' life. Last year as a freshman at Traverse City West Senior High she started at the top of her game.

"I ended up making varsity," says Lauren.

After all of her years as an athlete, she never experienced a concussion until last March during a soccer tournament.

"A ball was kicked up in the air and I went to head it, but a girl coming at me missed the ball and hit my face. It hit right here and I got a huge goose egg," says Lauren.

She never thought the hit to her head was anything serious.

"It was a rush of pain and I didn't really know what it was. I just walked off and felt a little foggy. When I got knocked down I saw a little blackness," says Lauren.

To help students and their parents understand what goes on with a concussion, Munson Healthcare physical therapists are working with athletic trainers with Traverse City Area Public Schools.

"The goal of the program is safety for the athlete and to provide physicians with the most relevant information to help them determine whether or not to return an athlete to sports," says senior specialist for outpatient rehabilitation with Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Josh Thorington.

When Lauren Collins had her concussion, Thorington worked with her at the Munson Outpatient Services- West during four separate sessions.

"Physicians have to clear an athlete to return. So, we're trying to provide them with the most information possible to help facilitate the decision making process," says Thorington.

Thorington is also involved with a free concussion baseline testing being offered for the students at the clinic with the fall sports season is coming up.

"It's very important because every athlete has a different baseline ability and before they can return to play protocol after a concussion they have to return to a baseline. So, that's why it's important to get a baseline so we can get them there before they return to sports," says Thorington.

"Programs such as this are extremely important for student athletes and coaches because coaches often times aren't the experts. So, this partnership especially with sports prone to concussions they're closely monitored beginning with the baseline test," says athletic director for Traverse City Central High School, Mark Mattson.

"The program itself was really well organized and certain steps were set up so we knew exactly what to expect," says Lauren's mom, Kristie Collins.

Since Lauren had her baseline already complete, Thorington was able to use that to work with during her therapy sessions.

"Listen to your body. That's the number one thing. If you don't feel like yourself then get checked because I didn't feel like myself and I had a concussion," says Lauren.

The concussion baseline testing is free Saturday, August 5th from 9 a.m. until noon. It's being held at Munson Outpatient Services-West on Rosewood Drive in Traverse City. For more information click here.