Pre-Season Brain Check-Up For Athletes

Pre-Season Brain Check-Up For Athletes

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Two-a-days have arrived which means high school athletes will be taking hard hits out on the football field. There is a method to better understand a possible head injury and how it affected the athlete. The test is just like a check-up, but for your cognitive functioning. Before an athlete starts the season it may be a good idea to take this test. If something were to happen on the field, the results could provide some useful information.

Memory, processing speed, concentration and reasoning are just a few of the cognitive functions measured during the test. Shelley Blancett, a licensed psychologist with the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center says it provides a benchmark for your intellect.

"If there is an incident later on throughout the season, we can compare their functioning after the incident to the way it was before," she said.

If the test results taken after the incident don't match the first results, then there may be a problem.

"It's one factor that specialists can use in determining whether the player is ready to return to play," Blancett said.

There are two methods to cognitive testing: computerized and manual, or in many cases, both. Blancett said the computerized test will evaluate how quickly information can be processed. The manual test takes a different route.

"That would be testing like 'how many words can you remember from this list of words?' and see if there is a difference then, before and after the season," said Blancett.

The test runs anywhere from $300 to $600, but with results that evaluate the important cognitive functions we use on a day-to-day basis, it may be worth it.

"If somebody is going to be putting themselves at risk of  a concussion or injury, then I think it is important to have this comparison to make to determine whether something serious has happened or not," said Blancett.

If you are interested in cognitive testing, call the Texas Tech Psychology or Psychiatry Department at 432-620-5800.