On Thursday, the Valley City Public Schools will conduct its 2013-14 baseline concussion management tests for 10th graders who plan to participate in fall sports as well as any new students in grades 9-12 who plan to participate in fall sports.
Testing will run from 10 to 11 a.m. Students should report to the computer lab by 10 a.m.
Testing for seventh graders and new junior high students who plan to participate in fall sports will be held on Thursday, Aug. 22 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the junior high computer lab.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions. While most effects are temporary, they can include headache, concentration, memory, judgement, balance and coordination, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Concussions are usually caused by a blow to the head, but can also occur when the head and body are violently shaken.
Baseline testing is part of the Valley City Public School's Concussion Management Policy. It is part of a comprehensive plan developed by schools and medical professionals to help prevent, recognize and manage concussions whether they appear minor or serious.
After the baseline test has been administered, result will be electronically filed to be used for comparison when a coach, trainer, physician or other trained professional believes the athlete has suffered an impact that could result in concussion.
While the North Dakota Century Code requires schools develop and implement a concussion management program, Valley City Public Schools has a policy that exceeds state requirement in order to protect student athletes, according to activities director Martin Bratrud.
"We go above and beyond to protect our kids," said Bratrud who pointed out Hi-Liner staff does not take chances with possible concussions. "When in doubt, remove them (from the game or practice)," he said.
Valley City Hi-Liner athletes use up-to-date protective gear and officials, coaches, medical staff including the team's physician and team trainer Mike Callahan as well as Bratrud and junior high principal Dan Larson all have extensive training in concussion management.
After an initial concussion, the athlete will contact Callahan to set up a first impact test with Larson.
After being symptom-free for 24 hours, the athlete will be given a second impact test.
Results of the tests can be given to a provider who is qualified to interpret the findings. Callahan can provide assistance in locating a provider and setting up an appointment.
Testing will continue until a physician or other qualified health care provider determines if the athlete can return to play.
To learn more about the North Dakota Hish School Activities Association's policy on concussion management and information on how to recognize a concussion, including A Parent's Guide to Concussion, go to www.ndhsaa.com/concussion_management .
Please call activities director Martin Bratrud with any questions at (701) 845 0483 (work) or (701) 490-2015 (cell).
Read this story in Wednesday's Times-Record.