2019-2020 Inaugural baseline concussion testing for student-athletes

In recent years, there has been a significant amount of research performed concerning sports-related concussions in student-athletes.  Garland ISD is committed to the health and safety of our student-athletes. Because of this commitment, we have collaborated with Canary Concussion to provide an evidence-based baseline and post-injury concussion assessments for student-athletes who are involved in collision and contact sports.

The key factors that play a role in the assessment and management of sports-related concussions are symptoms, neurocognitive problems, and balance problems. In an attempt to assess these factors, Garland ISD has partnered with Canary Concussion to utilize its web- and mobile-based formatted version of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool- 5th Edition (SCAT-5).

The SCAT-5 is a non-invasive standardized tool for evaluating concussions designed for use by physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals. The Preseason SCAT-5 baseline testing can be useful for interpreting post-injury test scores.   The exam, when appropriately used, can provide information to detect and manage concussions.

The SCAT-5 has two major components: an immediate/on-field assessment tool and an off-field assessment tool. The immediate/on-field assessment tool consists of taking note of red flags, checking for observable signs of concussion, memory assessment using Maddock's questionnaire, examining the level of consciousness using the Glasgow Coma Scale, and cervical spine assessment. The off-field assessment involves taking a comprehensive history of the player's condition, symptom evaluation, measurement of the athlete's orientation and immediate memory, concentration, and delayed recall. 

During the 2019-2020 school year, Garland ISD Athletic Trainers will attempt to baseline test student-athletes in grades 7 – 12 that participate in contact or collision sports. The idea behind baseline testing is to get the student-athlete to take the test and get a score when they have normal brain function. If the student-athlete suffers a head injury, the student will retake the SCAT-5 test, and the two scores will be compared. Through this process, along with a thorough examination, a licensed physician will determine when return to play is appropriate and safe for the injured student-athlete.

The Garland ISD Athletic Department is continually striving to keep our student-athletes' health and safety at the forefront of the athletic experience.  We are excited about our collaboration with Canary Concussion and look forward to implementing this evidence-based assessment into our concussion management plan.

For more information, contact Dr. Quentin Oliphant at QMOlipha@garlandisd.net.