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Nov. 20, 2017
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  Health

Computerized brain evaluations provide youth athletes with state-of-the-art protection

How long should an athlete stay away from the game after suffering a traumatic brain injury like a concussion?

M&M Physical Therapy recently announced that it is pioneering a baseline system to help answer that question. M&M promotes a return to play by carefully and accurately evaluating an athlete’s baseline through comprehensive testing of multiple body systems with the goal to prevent further damage to youth athletes from the cumulative effects of concussions. A youth athlete is injured every 25 seconds, according to research conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children.

“We continue to see an increasing prevalence of preventable injuries in our younger athletes,” said Brett Michener, PT, CSCS and CEO of M&M Physical Therapy, who is also a father of youth athletes and a youth-sports coach of golf, baseball, softball and basketball. “We have an obligation to the communities that we serve to share our expertise on how to prevent athletic injuries. One of the most important things I can do is share my team’s knowledge about youth sports injury prevention and offer a program to pre-screen athletes.”

M&M will use the computerized, Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Training (ImPACT) process, which is the most scientifically validated evaluation system for concussions. The 20-minute test will measure a player’s cognitive function—before and after an injury—that includes attention span, working memory, nonverbal problem solving and response variability.

“What allows M&M Physical Therapy to stand out among any other facility is that not only do we offer the ImPACT testing, but we fully evaluate all systems of the body,” said Rebecca Rizzo, a physical therapist with M&M. “As with any concussion, multiple body systems are affected, not just the cognitive aspect. The vestibular, balance and cardiovascular systems can also be impacted, and M&M PT offers a comprehensive approach by also offering balance screening and speed/agility/quickness testing along with our concussion program.”

The information gathered from the baseline testing and post-concussion evaluation is used by M&M’s therapists to provide a personalized plan of recovery and return to play for all athletes.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce distress and re-injury. In addition, physical therapy will provide an extensive evaluation of all systems affected post-concussion, including vestibular, visual, musculoskeletal, balance and cardiovascular.

A Safe Kids Worldwide survey revealed alarming information about youth sports injuries:

- Nine out of 10 athletes say they have been injured playing a sport, and 54 percent say they have played with an injury, such as a sprain or even a broken bone.

- Approximately 42 percent of players reported they have hidden or downplayed an injury during a game so they could keep playing, and 62 percent said they know someone else who has done so.

- Only 27 percent of coaches reported a player having hidden or downplayed an injury. More than half of athletes reported playing while injured.

M&M’s therapists are able to offer specialized and individualized care for patients, while keeping in constant communication with their general physician, parents, coaches and trainers to create a specific plan of care and goals for recovery. This baseline screening for athletes can be conducted off-site in schools, at recreation leagues or community programs.

Resources

For more information about M&M Physical Therapy’s concussion baseline testing, visit www.mmptnj.com.


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