New tool helps high school athletic trainers measure concussions

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A new tool is helping high school athletic trainers measure concussions and determine when athletes can return to the playing field.

With an application called C3 Logix, Rock Island High School athletic trainer Stacey Schuerman used an iPad to do baseline concussion testing on cheerleaders and volleyball players Tuesday.

The 15-minute test measures athletes' balance, reaction time, and memory recall, giving athletic trainers a basis from which they can measure future injury.

"We need to have a kind of set level of how the athlete is healthy, in order to be able to test the difference when they do become concussed," explained Jenna DeHoet, an athletic trainer with Rock Valley Physical Therapy.

The program, through Rock Valley, is first-of-its-kind in the area. Following an injury, athletic trainers can re-administer the test and compare an athlete's score.

"Once you close your eyes and the visual stimulus is gone, if you have a head injury, you're going to have really hard time balancing," said Schuerman.

Schuerman said it is a much-advanced tool that will help determine how badly athletes are hurt and if they're getting better.

"This is similar to what the NFL, NHL, MLB would use for their professional athletes," said Schuerman.

This fall, Rocky is making the testing mandatory for all athletes in higher-risk sports like football, volleyball, soccer and cheerleading.

"They've never done it with cheerleaders before, but I think it's great, because we're a very dangerous activity. We're lifting people in the air constantly, and falls do unfortunately happen," said cheerleader Ariel Rodriguez.

As for the test itself?

"It was pretty difficult," said Rodriguez. "A lot harder than I thought it would be!"

Later this year, wrestlers, basketball players, and baseball and softball players will also be tested.