By Sue Moore
“He just got his bell rung,” was the way parents and coaches used to describe a concussion for a student athlete. Not any more, says Lauren Flood, athletic trainer for Schoolcraft’s teams. She is a master’s degree candidate in the athletic training program at Western Michigan University and was assigned to Schoolcraft for a two-year stint to practice her craft.
“I’ve had a lot of concussion this year,” she said. “There are 22 symptoms we look for when examining an athlete for a concussion. If the athlete has any of the 22 symptoms, they cannot return to play. Parents and coaches are getting used to following the six step concussion protocol the athlete has to follow to return to play.”
“Coaches and parents need to understand that our judgement to pull an athlete out of play is for the athlete’s safety. This test will help assess the athletes’ neurocognitive function, which can be disrupted after a concussion, and help make more accurate decisions when clearing athletes back to play,” she continued.
To help the cause, Schoolcraft Athletic Boosters raised over $7,000 from its golf outing last August. It has used some of the money to purchase ImPACT testing for all of Schoolcraft’s high school athletes. It is a software testing program which when taken by each person, gives physicians a base line for normal functioning brain activities. The test provides tools for the assessment of an athlete’s health before a concussion occurs. With this baseline, physicians have the ability to decide when an injured athlete is healthy enough to return to normal activities.
Flood was designated to administer the tests in Schoolcraft’s computer lab this spring. “Coaches and parents need to understand that our judgment and this test will take the hodgepodge of understanding about concussions away. Ultimately, a clearing note from a physician is required before an athlete can return to play,” Flood cautioned.
The Athletic Boosters in Schoolcraft are also involved in supporting other activities through the generous donations of the community according to Wade Rutkoskie, president of the group.
• Training and professional development for athletes, coaches, parents, and community members.
• Financial assistance for athletes’ participation in sports camps.
•Sports awards and senior male and female Athlete of the Year scholarships.
• Support for various state championship qualifying teams.
• Training and sports equipment.