Two Kansas school districts will use a new tool to detect concussions in their students this football season.
Starting next month, Eudora and Lawrence schools will require all student athletes to undergo a baseline test before they participate in sports.
If an athlete is injured, they will be tested again, and the results will be compared to the initial findings to determine if that student is fit to play.
An estimated 10 percent of athletes in a contact sport will suffer a concussion.
Matthew Cole, 20, has spent more than half his life on the football field. He has played linebacker and running back. He has also suffered concussions.
"You definitely can tell the hits that kind of hurt and knock the wind out of you and a concussion and something's wrong," Cole said.
That is why Cole is throwing his support behind these new Xs and Os, a new baseline concussion test athletes in two Douglas County school districts will now undergo.
"It seems that it is really going to be able to help know when a player is ready to be able to go out there and not get hurt anymore," said physical therapist Adam Rolf at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Starting in August, students in Eudora and Lawrence school districts will have to take the test before they play their sport of choice. So if they are injured, they will take it again, and the results will be compared against their initial findings.
Rolf helped bring the baseline test to Douglas County.
"This is a brain physical or cognitive test that gives them data to really see reaction time and learning response," Rolf said.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital is donating the test to more than 800 students in the two districts. Dr. Tom Marcellino is analyzing the results.
"It is all about the safety of the kids, so it is awesome that Lawrence will have this available," Marcellino said.
Cole said this test is important, even if it means less time on the field.
"It is better to sit one game out and have to deal with that versus the whole season," Marcellino said.
Officials are hoping to expand to other schools in Kansas.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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