Because the system is entirely online, students can take the baseline tests from home, at their convenience, making it easy for schools to ensure that everyone is tested.
When Maryland’s Calvert High School piloted ImPACT in fall 2011, a few parents “did not want their children to participate,” said Kevin Hook, athletics supervisor for Calvert County Public Schools, which hopes to implement Complete Neuro Sport in August. “So [the students] didn’t take the [baseline] test, but when the student really did have concussion-like symptoms, then it’s too late. Basically the doctors didn’t have anything to go on.”
Complete Neuro Sport goes beyond other baseline testing programs by establishing not only a physical and cognitive baseline, but also a baseline for emotional state and mood, said Frank Damasceno, co-founder and sales and marketing head of Complete Neuro Sport.
During the season, coaches and athletic trainers can use Complete Neuro Sport’s Android and iPhone apps to complete a step-by-step evaluation of any student that appears to have concussion-like symptoms. If the student indeed has suffered a concussion, the completed assessment results can be sent via automated eMail to the student’s doctor.
Once the system identifies a concussion, Complete Neuro Sport assists the student’s medical professional throughout the recovery process. “The most serious consequence of a concussion is to have another concussion during that same period,” Kerasidis said.
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Each night during the recovery period, the student completes a checklist of persistent symptoms so that his or her doctor can track the symptoms over time. Once the symptoms are resolved, the student completes additional testing to see if cognitive function and physical performance have returned to normal. Finally, the program guides the coach and student through a five-day recovery process, which outlines steps for intensifying training from light aerobic exercise to full exertion.
An initial concern about implementing the program was whether parents would have sufficient computer access to participate, but schools can solve this problem by allowing parents to complete the requirements in school computer labs during parent meetings, Hook said.
Another concern, Hook said, is how schools can shoulder the cost of the program without putting a burden on already cash-strapped school districts.
Complete Neuro Sport will be priced between $20 and $40 per athlete, per year, depending on the number of athletes in a school system. Its main competitor, ImPACT, charges about $9 for each baseline test, and then charges separately for additional services after that. In contrast, schools using Complete Neuro Sport will not incur any extra costs after the initial fee, Damasceno said.
Calvert County Public Schools wanted to “get behind [Complete Neuro Sport], because it looks like it’ll really be ahead of everything,” going far beyond what is required by concussion laws, Hook said. “This is a lifelong thing. If you’re this young and getting concussions, we need to take care of you.”