Breaking down Cabrini’s concussion testing

By Chris Schaller
April 4, 2022

photo by: MAC Concussion Alliance
photo by: MAC Concussion Alliance
the different types of head trauma that can be sustained during a concussion.
photo: Mayo Clinic

A bruise to the brain usually results in a week of no sports for a player then back onto the field. Concussions over the last 10 years have been a pressing topic as the population gains more and more knowledge about the severity of the injury over time.

Cabrini and the Atlantic East Conference follow the concussion protocol checklist provided by the NCAA. Currently there is no time table for when a player should return to play. However that athlete has to be cleared by a medical professional.

“For liability reasons we cannot go through the exact details of how we evaluate concussions and to clear a player they have to be cleared by a physician,”  Jessica Toth, Cabrini University head athletic trainer, said.

The earliest to fully recover from a concussion is between two-to-four weeks. That time table is not followed by a majority of sports leagues including the NCAA. A player will usually return to athletic activities in one or two weeks and may not report the symptoms that they may still be suffering from.

There has been a push in recent years for women’s lacrosse to wear helmets like the men’s lacrosse. The argument is since it is a contact sport and that men’s lacrosse plays with a helmet then the women should as well. “What puts us at the highest risk of a concussion during a game is being checked in the head, which is illegal, but since we don’t have helmets there is no protection against it,” Alyssa Kolasa, junior lacrosse midfielder, said.

Before the 2010’s, people did not view concussions as an injury with long-term effects. Usually a player’s head will collide with another player, playing surface or another object, prompting the brain injury. If the player wasn’t knocked unconscious, they head right back onto the field of play. The movie Concussion, which came out in 2015, broke down the long-term effects of CTE (chronic trauma encephalopathy), that NFL players had to live with, opened up the public’s eyes to the dangers of not treating concussions.

Now for the most part the player will be pulled from the game and the trainer will evaluate the player, most likely keeping the player out for the rest of the game. From that point on the recovery and steps for the player to be cleared are not under the supervision of the athletic trainers.

Cabrini’s women’s lacrosse vs. Stockton University
Photo: Chris Schaller

Every athlete before each season that they compete has to take the Impact test. The Impact test is a 30-minute online standardized test that gets a baseline of a player’s cognitive and comprehension skills. The point of the test is for there to be a blueprint for a player that gets concussed to see the impacts of their brain injury.

Cabrini’s athletic department has more advanced protocols for leg injuries, arm injuries and other body maladies than for concussions. This is based on concussions not being heavily evaluated and studied until recently in history.

As time goes on and more and more athletes suffer from concussions. There will be more-and-more information about the long-term effects that occur from mistreated concussions. Trainers, doctors and independent neurologists are learning new ways to treat concussions based on past examples of failed treatments and scientific studies that are being done.


Chris Schaller

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