California High School Will Administer Baseline Tests to ALL Students, Experts Weigh In

(Editor’s note: What follows is an excerpt from a story that appeared in Concussion Litigation Reporter. To see the full story and subscribe, visit https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

As word was getting out late last month that Loyola High School in California planned to administer baseline tests to its entire student body, at least one observer in the concussion industry was not surprised.

Michael Wahlster.

As the Chief Executive Officer of the nation’s largest baseline testing outfit — ImPACT Applications, Inc. – Wahlster saw this potential trend in the distance.

“While this has been a relatively new development, there are other schools moving in this direction,” Wahlster told Concussion Litigation Reporter (CLR). “They realize that just because a student is not a student athlete, doesn’t mean they aren’t at risk for concussion.”

Frank Kozakowski, the principal of LHS elaborated on that point in an article in the Los Angeles Times when he noted that “the school has experienced increased numbers of students being diagnosed with concussions from such activities as skateboarding and snowboarding and wants a way to know when the student is ready to return to the classroom or the athletic field.”

Calling it an “underappreciated problem,” Wendie A. Howland, a concussion expert and principal of Howland Health Consulting, Inc. (www.howlandhealthconsulting.com) told CLR that what Loyola is doing is a positive step. She has consulted with administrators, who see kids “with subtle changes after a ‘minor’ injury. These subtle changes can be the difference between your grades and performance getting you into a top university versus a lower-level college.  The difference can translate into decreased opportunity and salaries later on in life.”

LHS has 1,270 students, the majority of which are not student athletes. Making the transition to testing those students will not be difficult, according to longtime head athletic trainer Tim Moscicki, who has been testing football players since 2006.

“We just decided that it would be better off to have all of our students have a baseline, so that if they should ever have a concussion, we’ll have something to work with,” Moscicki told CBS Los Angeles.

One expert in the field suggested that making kids a priority should override budgetary concerns.

“I know this (budget) is typically what holds things such as this back,” Athletic Trainer Tommy Dean, who also owns the company Concussion Solutions (www.concussion-solutions.com), told CLR. “But if you make your students/kids a priority then the money is most always there. I am in favor of this concept and am interested to see if any other schools in the area or around the country follow suit.”

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