Vancouver schools require test

Each athlete must take baseline test for concussions

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Free Baseline Test

Dick’s Sporting Goods is sponsoring a program called PACE (Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education) that provides free baseline concussion tests for local middle school, high school and youth program athletes.

The program uses the ImPACT online program to administer the test. As part of the PACE program, middle and high schools new to the ImPACT program can obtain ImPACT testing for up to 300 athletes free of charge for one year.

To sign up for the program, coaches or school administrators must go to www.DicksSportingGoods.com/PACE, click on the “Submit Your School” tab and fill in the school’s information.

Participation in football, soccer, basketball, wrestling and cheer now requires more than talent for high school students in Vancouver Public Schools.

They also are required to take a baseline test to be used in case of head injuries.

The initial cognition test will be used to compare with future tests for any athlete who suffers from a concussion. The athlete will not be cleared to return to action until the latest test results fall within certain parameters of the initial test, in conjunction with a medical evaluation. Roughly 700 students took the test in preparation for this school year, according to Mick Hoffman, the athletic director for VPS.

“It’s almost like a video game, the way it’s done,” Hoffman said. “It gives enough information in case of a suspected head injury, the doctors have a good baseline.”

Concussion sufferers who are cleared will not return to full-time action immediately.

“It’s a gradual return to play. They might get some physical activity, then rechecked,” Hoffman said.

The test is paid for by the school district via athletic fees already in place, and through a pilot program by Rebound Orthopedic and Neurosurgery Group.

“The goal of the program isn’t to hold kids out. The idea is to allow them to play when they’re healthy,” Hoffman said. “We just see it as a right thing to do for our kids.”

Students in Evergreen, Camas, and Battle Ground schools are not required to take a baseline test. Steve Getsinger of Evergreen Public Schools said he could see that happening in his district perhaps as soon as next school year.