SPORTS: Concussion testing for athletes starts today

North Olympic Peninsula athletes can take preseason concussion testing starting today through a special program offered by SportsConcussions.org.

Area athletes ages 10 and older can receive baseline testing, used to measure one’s normal brain function, at testing centers in Port Angeles and Sequim.

Testing opens today at Peninsula College from 5-7 p.m. in Room M-134 and at the Clallam County Fire District No. 3 Fire House, 323 N. Fifth Ave., in Sequim on Friday from 9-11 a.m. and Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.

Testing is provided in partnership with Olympic Medical Center, Olympic Medical Physicians-Orthopaedics and Peninsula College. The cost is $5.

“We chose to partner in this concussion testing program as we’ve seen firsthand the need for participation and education at the community level to help prevent, adequately treat and ultimately allow a youth athlete to safely return to action,” said Rhonda Curry, assistant administrator of strategic development at OMC, in a news release.

“Our hope is this collaboration will ultimately result in less long-term damage as a result of kids not coming back too soon after a concussion.”

SportsConcussions.org was founded by Sequim resident Jean Rickerson, whose own son, Drew, sustained a concussion while playing quarterback for Sequim High School as a sophomore in 2008.

Upon discovering a lack of awareness regarding head injuries following the injury, Jean began working to educate the Peninsula through community work as well as her website.

“We believe very strongly that computerized baseline testing is a necessary part of a good concussion management program for athletes in every school district and private youth sports league,” Jean Rickseron said.

“Particularly in rural areas where specialized care is often hard to find, a preseason evaluation gives medical professionals more information about the status of an athlete’s injury.”

The online baseline test will be provided by Axon Sports.

It is taken before the sports season begins to provide a benchmark for comparison after a suspected concussion. The test measures brain function, attention, working memory, speed and accuracy in thinking.

Results are stored and can be shared with qualified medical providers to help them make decisions about when an athlete is ready to return to the classroom, practice or competitive play.

For more information about baseline testing, and concussions, visit SportsConcussions.org.

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