New concussion technology helps diagnose on sidelines

Published: Oct. 28, 2016 at 5:15 PM EDT
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An athletic trainer for two U.P. high schools is using a newer sideline test to detect a concussion in players faster.

For the second year, Calumet and Lake Linden high schools are using the King-Devick Test, a sideline concussion test for athletes. They are two of 35 schools in the state participating in the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s (MHSAA) pilot program looking to see if the test works.

Dorothy Jamison, head athletic trainer for both schools, said players are more accepting of concussion diagnosis on the sidelines since the test was implemented.

“When they can see a number and see a time that is different from their baseline,” said Jamison. “They all have a baseline test and they see when they do test. They think they are feeling fine and the timer shows that they are much slower or they have errors on reading the numbers and this test is something quantitative they can see.”

If pulled for a possible concussion, athletes will re-take their baseline test. The results show if they have a concussion with almost 100 percent accuracy.

“It is tablet based. The test takes about 50 seconds or less for a post test, and you can do it on the sidelines. You can do it in the rain,” said Jamison. “You don’t need a dedicated bank of computers. It’s all right there, over and done with. [It’s] a very quick way to analyze if you have a concussion or not.”

“I think that we prefer nice and quick, and we get results right away instead of having to take a long time to get back into the game,” said Lenny Torola, a senior defensive tackle for Calumet.

Coaches say this test brings them reassurance when it comes to looking for concussions.

“It’s nice having a system that we know that kids have concussions, or don’t have concussions,” said Calumet football coach, John Croze. “We have the ability to know when they can come back. It’s not a guessing game anymore.”

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