As reported this week, Arizona has introduced a first-of-its-kind concussion education program that requires all student-athletes to pass a formal concussion test before being cleared for sports.
It's an online interactive test called Brain Book, and if you play any high school sport in Arizona, you're now required to go through the lessons, watch the videos and take a test on concussions before you're cleared to play.
"The main hope is to reduce concussions through education," says Dr. Javier Cardenas, MD, from Barrow Neurological Institute.
According to Barrow, about 7,000 Arizona high school students suffer a concussion each year. But they're not always easy to spot.
A new e-learning program will tell athletes what to look for and what to do next if they think they have one.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), along with the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center and the Arizona Cardinals,debuted their Brainbook concussion e-learning program on Tuesday, saying it will immediately affect more than 100,000 student-athletes in the state.
Brainbook is an approximately 50-minute concussion education program available online that all male and female student-athletes will have to take this year to be eligible to play sports. The program uses videos and a Q&A format to walk student-athletes through symptoms and signs of a concussion, encourage them to report all suspected concussions (even for teammates), and explain to them what to do if they have a concussion. (Take a test version of the program for a spin here.)
Best of all, it's laid out in a Facebook-esque format (complete with "Likes" and "Dislikes"), so Millennials should feel right at home. One downside to the program, however: There's nothing requiring users to completely watch each video. For anyone who's a half-decent guesser, he/she may be able to bypass a majority of the educational videos in the program. (Is this the 21st-century version of looking up homework answers in the back of the book?)
The test version of the program doesn't include a pre- and post-test, but students will be required to pass a formal quiz at the end of the program before taking part in interscholastic sports. They must answer at least 80 percent of the quiz questions correctly to be eligible, according to AIA Executive Director Harold Slemmer.
The online Brainbook program was developed because it would be impractical to go from school to school to educate student-athletes about concussions, said Dr. Javier Cárdenas, a neurologist at the Barrow Neurological Institute, in a press conference. Cárdenas said that the program aims to help student-athletes recognize the signs/symptoms of a concussion, know what to do after suffering a concussion, and ensure that they don't return to play before fully healing.
"We're not going to eliminate all concussions. We know that," Cárdenas said."The most important thing is to make sure that you recover from those concussions."
Arizona's been on fire in terms of youth concussions this year. Remember, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a youth-concussion law back in April. And in June, the Mayo Clinic announced that it would be offering free baseline-concussion tests for more than 100,000 Arizona student-athletes this school year.
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