Published on October 24, 2014
The serious nature of sports related concussions has heightened over the years. Using new equipment, Lawrence Memorial Hospital is working to make sure concussions are diagnosed, treated and healed properly.
"The ball was in the air. I jumped up for the ball. Then next thing I know I'm on the ground looking up at the trainers," said Bret Folks, a Sophomore at Eudora High School.
Folks is a member of the Eudora Soccer team and in the middle of a game when he collided with another player which led to an ambulance ride to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
"The EMTs asked me questions. They asked me who the president was and I said 18 and not Barack Obama," said Folks.
Folks was diagnosed with a concussion through a new tool at LMH.
"Impact Screening is something our physicians use here at LMH to diagnose concussions as well as help with that big question return to play," said Adam Rolf, Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
With the new technology some schools in the area require young athletes to take a baseline test every couple of years.
"The baseline component looks at how the brain is operating when you are healthy." said Rolf.
Then if a concussion were to occur, doctors compare the results from the baseline test with a new post-concussion test.
"The results of that test let us know if your brain operating normally, do we have the same reaction time, do we have the same short term memory, things that we want to see what the brain is doing before we go back and possibly get hit again," said Rolf.
Basically it's a brain physical pre and post concussion. Rolf said it not only helps patients but it also aides doctors immensely.
"Physicians can be much more confident in that return to play decision and say hey you're ready to go, let's get you back out there with your athletic trainer, go to the return to play protocol," said Rolf.
Folks said Impact Screening is the reason he was able to return to the game that he loves. He said he is appreciative that his school system and LMH had him take the baseline test prior to his concussion so he could heel properly and get back on the field.
"The doctors and staff were very very helpful. They were very nice. I just want to thank them for that," said Folks.
Rolf said Impact testing started at the University of Pittsburgh in 1995. Since that time the testing method has spread to numerous hospitals and is also used in the NHL, NFL, and NCAA.