70 football players given concussion test

By Bethany Knipp

Seventy Manhattan High School football players so far have been tested in a concussion evaluation program that the school implemented this year for its athletes.

MHS athletic director Mike Marsh gave a report about the program to the Manhattan-Ogden school board at a meeting on Wednesday.

The program is a voluntary, non-invasive computerized concussion evaluation system called ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), used to help determine when athletes can return to practice after a concussion.

Marsh said Thursday students take the test by sitting at a computer and using a keyboard to answer questions that would be indicative of whether those with concussions would be well enough to practice again.

The evaluation is given to athletes before contact sport practice or competition and if a concussion is suspected, the athlete would retake the test.

Both pre-season and post-injury information would be given to the athlete’s doctor to determine when it’s safe for the player to return to practice.

So far, Marsh said, the school has tested 70 out of 100 football players, which he thought was positive.

“We’ll probably test 250 to 300 kids this year,” Marsh said.

He said the first year, the school will test anyone who volunteers. The second year, ninth graders, 11th graders and any new students will be tested (and anyone who gets a concussion would take the post-test).

Boys soccer players are scheduled to be tested Saturday, and volleyball players at some point next week, Marsh said. Swimmers, softball and baseball players and wrestlers are also among the athletes who would have the option to test.

MHS Principal Greg Hoyt said eight other schools in the league have some kind of concussion testing, though it might not be ImPact.

Marsh said that the evaluation system costs about $800 and was paid for through the high school’s general activity account, which is funded by event ticket sales. It is free for athletes who participate.

He said the school purchased a package of 500 pre-tests and 100 post-tests.

“Currently across the country there’s about 7,400 schools that use this program and about 1,000 colleges and universities,” Marsh said.

He said he thought the evaluation system was a good thing for students and that the school was excited about furthering athletes’ safety.

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