MCPS Approves Baseline Concussion Testing
During its meeting on June 24, the Montgomery County Board of Education approved four contracts to administer baseline testing to student athletes as part of an effort to improve awareness and treatment for concussions in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The baseline tests assist medical professionals in determining when a student athlete can return to play a sport following a concussion.
Baseline testing is an exam conducted during the preseason that assesses an athlete’s balance and brain function, including learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly he or she thinks and solves problems. Results from baseline tests can be compared to tests administered to an athlete suspected to have experienced a concussion.
The total cost of the program will be $99,140, which includes $18,750 for the purchase of the computer software needed for implementation. The contracts were awarded to: ATI Physical Therapy, Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland, MedStar Sports Medicine and Metro Orthopedics & Sports Therapy. Three of the vendors will also provide some level of athletic trainer services to some high schools as part of the contracts.
Last year, Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr announced that MCPS was exploring a districtwide testing program and included funds for the program in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 operating budget recommendation. The final FY 2014 budget, approved by the Board earlier this month, includes funds for the testing program.
A work group was established and, in March, MCPS requested proposals from vendors that could administer a baseline testing program.
MCPS already provides information to parents and student-athletes about concussions and head injuries, as well as ongoing training to coaches and athletic directors. Any athlete who is exhibiting concussion-related symptoms must be removed from a game immediately and cannot return to play until cleared by a medical professional.