St. Mary's of Michigan, FNI to offer free concussion baseline assessments

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SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (07/16/18) - The Michigan High School Athletic Association requires student-athletes to pass a sports physical each year.

This year St. Mary's of Michigan is offering a free sports physical to teens at the Towne Centre location in Saginaw Township on July 26 and 27. Appointments can be made by calling 989-497-3200.

In addition, St. Mary's and the Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up to offer a concussion baseline assessment. This assessment only takes about 10 minutes and also is being offered at no cost.

"There's some serious repercussions to going back into a sport too soon and not being fully healed. They would never go back into a sport with a broken foot until it's full healed, we want to make sure they're doing the same thing for their brain," said Nicole Stewart, the program liaison for the Concussion Clinic.

Assessments are done using the TRAZER, an interactive computer simulation program. "Jumping, balancing, we're testing their reaction time, their acceleration, and we also get to capture their heart rate while they're doing all of this," Stewart said.

Should a teenager end up with a concussion the baseline information collected during the assessment will be on file.

When a student-athlete is ready to go back on the field or court they'd go through the same process. A doctor would then be able to use the before and after data to help make a decision about whether a teenager is able to return to their sport.

"You can't fool this, you can't fool a heart rate monitor, and you know, with the activities that we have them doing, if they still have a concussion they're going to struggle to get through them," Stewart said. "We'd rather them do that with a healthcare provider present."

Parents may also find the information valuable.

"I think this particular tool gives parents something that can, you know, grant them a little peace of mind and it allows them to see something concrete," Stewart said.

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