concussion clinicLancer quarterback Austin Kennedy, seated, prepares to take a baseline ImPACT concussion management test. Behind him, from left, are neuropsychology professors Joe Casey and Chris Abeare, and athletic therapist Dave Stoute.

Concussion clinic launched for varsity athletes

Austin Kennedy has been playing football since he was 10-years-old and is fortunate enough to have never suffered a concussion.

Still, the starting quarterback for the Lancers is grateful that a group of therapists and neuropsychologists are taking a proactive stand about better understanding and preventing what’s been called an epidemic among professional and amateur athletes alike.

“I think this will help figure out why some people seem more susceptible to concussions than others,” Kennedy said of the new Sport Concussion Clinic being launched this year.

Currently consisting of Chris Abeare and Joe Casey, two faculty members in the clinical neuropsychology area of the Psychology Department, athletic therapist Dave Stoute and team physician Dr. John R. Coates, the clinic will gather baseline data on memory, attention, and reaction time for the university’s varsity athletes.

They’re collecting baseline data on all the players from the football team, the men’s and women’s basketball teams, soccer teams, and hockey teams using a recently purchased piece of software called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing).

Following an injury, if an athlete exhibits symptoms consistent with a concussion, they’ll be sent back to the clinic to do the test again so that their post-injury data can be compared with their baseline results. Experts in the clinic can then determine whether the athlete can return to play.

“If we suspect them of having a concussion, then we send them back for another ImPACT test,” explained Stoute. “These are student athletes. We want to make absolutely certain that if they’re diagnosed with a concussion that we’re not sending them back too early. We had two football players who lost their entire season last year due to concussions.”

Dr. Abeare will discuss the clinic when he appears this afternoon on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.

Abeare will also join a panel of experts at the Windsor Family Credit Union arena on Thursday Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. for a concussion work shop, which he said will be a great opportunity for parents, athletes, coaches and trainers to learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of concussions.