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Student Athletes Receive More Concussion Testing

According to medical reports, the number of reported concussions are on the rise in high school sports.

EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.Va- With West Virginia high school fall sports in full swing, sustaining head injuries is a constant worry for the athletes and their coaches.

According to medical reports, the number of reported concussions are on the rise in high school sports. It's a major concern for Eastern Panhandle high school officials including the athletic trainer at Spring Mills High School, Kayla Johns.

"It's constantly on your mind as an athletic trainer," said Kayla Johns, athletic trainer at Spring Mills High School.

Now the Eastern Area Health Education Center, which is part of West Virginia University, is helping out by offering more concussion testing for student athletes. Especially football players at Eastern Panhandle high schools like Spring Mills, Jefferson and Berkeley Springs. The test is called ImPact, testing the athletes reaction time and memory after sustaining a head injury. 

"It assesses brain function and things like memory, memory for words that are seen, memory for just bizarre shapes that are seen," said Dr. Konrad Nau, the Dean at Eastern Division of WVU School of Medicine. "It's the ability to sequence numbers."

Medical officials with WVU say not just football but in all sports athletes are prone to head injuries. That's why they're encouraging any athlete who suffered the slightest head bump to take the test, otherwise they may be affected later in life.

"It's very simple to go to the trainer and in the school," said Nau. "We can have you tested or we can bring you to the health sciences center or one of our university physician clinics. We can retest you and have that compared to baseline to see indeed if a concussion has occurred." 

"I think this gives the parents some ease on their mind," said Johns. "We have those measurements, that we are able to go by, not just what I say."

The Eastern Area Health Center has conducted more than 1,000 tests on Eastern Panhandle high school student-athletes this year. The impact tests is also administered by professional teams in Major League Baseball and the National Football League.

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