By Ken Reed

Klay Thompson, one-half of the Golden State Warriors’ “Splash Brothers,” is dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion as his team prepares for the NBA Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this week.

That, in and of itself, isn’t a big newsflash. Concussions are part of sports these days. What is news is that Thompson was cleared by Golden State medical officials to go back into the game with the Houston Rockets last week. Fortunately, Thompson never reentered the game because the Warriors were comfortably ahead and coach Steve Kerr didn’t think it was necessary to put Thompson back in the game. I say fortunately because soon after the game, Thompson began to get dizzy and then threw up a couple times. He indeed did have a concussion. Reentering the game could have put him at danger for Second Impact Syndrome, a scary condition that can result in serious brain damage, and even death, if another concussion results shortly after the first.

There are a couple lessons here for youth and high school athletes and coaches. One, concussion symptoms can be delayed. Most delayed symptoms present themselves within 12-24 hours but they can take up to three days to appear. So, it’s important that any athlete that takes a blow to the head is closely monitored for the first few days after the head trauma. Two, youth and high school sports teams need a simple and effective concussion screening test in order to lessen the chances that an athlete will return to play too soon.

The King-Devick test fits the bill. 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 youth and high school coaches can do it after a minimum of instruction. Moreover, the test is only five to ten dollars a year for each athlete.

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.

The fact is, the vast majority of youth and high school sports contests today don’t have any medical personnel on the sidelines. That’s another reason why the use of the King-Devick test is important.

I urge you to share this information with every youth and high school sports administrator and coach you know. It could prevent a lot of tragic consequences for young athletes and their families.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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