Concussion testing for younger athletes becoming popular

PLANO, Texas - It's football season, and with that comes effort to prevent concussions and other football-related injuries for young players.

Some school districts already require baseline concussion testing before students take the field.

Now, more independent youth leagues are adopting those same screening standards.

This trip to the hospital will be different for Sam, 10 years old, getting a check-up not so much on what's not working, but what is.

"Having a base-line gives us a starting spot so they can say, 'this is me,'" Jonathan Hancock of Texas Health said.

And this is crucial for young kids as they start school, start playing sports in leagues.

Jonathan Hancock is an athletic trainer at the concussion center here at Texas health Plano.

"To see the number of athletes that we are getting is amazing, and it's across all sports," Hancock said.

Sam will get a series of testing his memory, his focus, but mainly his brain.

But for mom this was a no-brainer. Her son's league coach highly recommended it.

"Why not get it done? It's another tool I can use as a parent to make sure my child is getting the best healthcare and they're getting everything they need," mom Ashley Finlinson said.

Many school districts like Frisco ISD mandate base-line testing, but leagues are also now starting to catch on. So while Sam is getting tested on his balance. His younger brothers also playing football will get tested too.

"I had no idea they could actually do it this young," Finlinson said. "When I talked with Jonathan he said, 'Yeah we can do a paper and pen test.'"

Questions that test Cal's memory. The results physicians and trainers get here will be compared to the data they get after a brain injury. Five to seven years ago, this topic was foreign.

"More and more we're starting to realize the concussions these kids are getting are mild more than anything else, but they set the stage," Hancock said.

Going without help after an injury can be very dangerous. Tests like these can at least get the help started and keep them on the field and on their feet.


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