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Study reveals many baseline tests for brain injuries are invalid

There is no lack of concern and effort to protect young athletes in Ontario and elsewhere from suffering head trauma during participation in sports activities. Various studies are carried out to find the best ways to prevent brain injuries. Although baseline testing has become a trusted method to prevent athletes from returning too soon after concussions, the results of a recent University of Windsor study indicate that more than half of baseline tests are invalid.

Baseline tests are done to assess the normal cognitive abilities of young athletes at the beginning of the season. Anyone who suffers a concussion will be allowed recovery time, and before allowing his or her return to the sports field, a comparative test will be done. If the test shows recovery of normal cognitive abilities, the athlete is deemed fit to return.

However, the study involving 8,000 young athletes shows that as many as 55 percent of the results of initial tests are inaccurate. The tests cover aspects such as memory, attention span, reaction time and information processing speed. The professor in charge of the tests says he suspects that children fail to understand the importance of the initial tests. Many of them underperform intentionally in an effort to be allowed back sooner after suffering concussions.

No parent in Ontario would want their children to be harmed on the sports fields, and they typically trust coaches and other adults in authoritative positions to keep the children safe. However, if a parent believes his or her child suffered brain injuries due to negligent supervision during sports activities, he or she might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Establishing negligence in such a case can be challenging, and might be best achieved by an experienced lawyer who can also navigate ensuing legal proceedings in pursuit of recovery of economic and non-economic damages.

Source: cbc.ca, "Concussion baseline testing is failing up to 55% of the time, says prof", March 14, 2018

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