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Health and Medicine

Akron Children's Hospital focuses on concussions in youth sports
Doctor says children are higher risk for head and brain injuries

Grant Engle
In The Region:

Akron Children’s Hospital is making a push to conduct baseline concussion tests for children who play sports.

The hospital’s Sports Medicine Center wants schools and youth sports leagues to use the tests to help doctors more effectively diagnose injuries after a collision.

Athletes who suffer head trauma often go through a series of questions that gauge memory, problem-solving and other neurological measurements.

The problem is, without a baseline test from an athlete, doctors and trainers don’t have data for comparison, which makes it more difficult to decisively say a player has been concussed.

Dr. Joseph Congeni is the director of the hospital’s Sports Medical Center. He says it’s important to have baseline data for young athletes because they’re at a higher risk for head and brain injuries.

Dr. Joseph Congeni on why young athletes are more likely to suffer a concussion

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“They don’t have the core strength yet and there’s more of what’s called the bobblehead effect. And because they don’t have that core strength, there’s a lot more of the whiplash or snap-back mechanism to the brain – leading to concussion.”

Congeni says roughly 20 percent of high school, middle school and youth league athletes in Akron have had a baseline concussion test, which is well above the national average of 6 to 8 percent.

  • The test used by Akron Children's Hospital is called "ImPACT" -- Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing
  • Baseline ImPACT costs $30
  • Post-concussion ImPACT costs $89
  • ImPACT appointments can be scheduled by calling the Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children's Hospital: 330-543-8260
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