By Ken Reed
Looking at all the research studies that come across my desk on sports concussions — and even sub-concussive brain trauma — can be depressing.
But today I have good news: In a news conference today, the world-famous Mayo Clinic has teamed with the King-Devick Test to increase awareness and screening of brain trauma, with a focus on young athletes. The King-Devick Test is an inexpensive, quick (approximately two minutes) and accurate test for concussion detection and evaluation on the sidelines of sporting events. Just as importantly, it’s easy to administer — for almost anyone. You don’t have to be a medical professional in order to administer the test to an athlete. Youth parents and coaches can do it after a minimum of instruction.
“Studies have indicated that the King-Devick Test is an effective tool for the real-time evaluation of concussion because it looks at rapid eye movement and attention — both are affected by concussions,” said David Dodick, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and director of Mayo Clinic’s concussion program.
“Most importantly, the test is affordable and can easily be used by any youth sports league, and administered by non-medical personnel. And youth athletes are at a higher risk for concussion and a longer recovery time than adults.”
The test costs between five and ten dollars a year for athletes. The yearly cost is due to the need to establish an annual baseline. Ideally, the King-Devick Test will eventually become part of every young athlete’s pre-participation physical.
On the sidelines, the test can identify athletes that not only have suffered a full-blown concussion but sub-concussive brain trauma as well. Thus, the test is an excellent “remove-from-play” tool for trainers, coaches and parents. An effective remove-from-play tool is critical because it can help prevent Second Impact Syndrome, a condition in which a person experiences a second brain injury shortly after the first. Second Impact Syndrome can have devastating effects, both in the short-and-long-term.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million students have concussions every year. And given that research has shown that up to 50% of athletes don’t self-report brain injury symptoms, having a simple, valid and accurate tool for detecting concussions on the sidelines of sporting events is a critical societal need.
The King-Devick Test has also been proven to pick up “silent concussions.” These are brain injuries that have occurred in athletes despite the lack of typical concussion symptoms. As such, a coach or parent could quickly test an athlete after a big hit even if the athlete isn’t wobbly or experiencing any other obvious effect from that hit.
“It’s a privilege to be associated with the premier health care brand in the world,” said Steve Devick, Founder and CEO of King-Devick Test.
“This agreement will help us accomplish our goal of having a tool on the sidelines to help determine ‘remove from play’ for athletes to prevent further injury and be referred to qualified professionals for follow up care.”
For more information on the King-Devick Test, visit www.kingdevicktest.com
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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