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MHSAA plans sideline concussion testing kit program

Governor Snyder is expected to sign legislation attempting to reduce the number of concussions in youth sports.
Reigh LeBlanc

The Michigan High School Athletic Association wants to make it easier for coaches and other safety officials to check student athletes for concussions.

Next fall, the MHSAA plans to launch a pilot program that will give schools around the state concussion detection kits that can be administered on the sidelines.

Jack Roberts, MHSSA executive director, said one of the program’s goals is to raise standards when it comes to concussion safety.  

"Sideline detection can be more objective than it often times is,” he said. “We’ll improve the standard of care everywhere through this initiative.”

The MHSSA is still exploring options for what type of test to use in the kits.

One possibility involves asking each student athlete to read a series of numbers displayed on an electronic device such as an iPad at the beginning of the season and recording their reading speed.

If a student sustains a blow to the head during a game, they’ll be asked to read the numbers again. Errors or a decrease in speed are indications of a possible injury.

Roberts said different solutions will likely be used for different schools, depending on the resources available in each community.

Whatever the solution, the MHSAA wants it to be simple and inexpensive.

"It also has to produce, electronically, immediate reports and permanent records," Roberts said.

Those reports would go to both the student's school and the MHSAA.

Roberts clarified the kits will help a coach decide if an athlete should be taken out of a game or practice. Only a medical professional can decide when they return.

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