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FAIRFIELD - Fairfield High School is among nearly 30 schools in the region to be equipped with a computerized tool for concussion testing.
The Cincinnati Bengals recently awarded the Mercy Health network a $5,000 grant to provide the ImPact - Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing - computerized testing to its 28 partner high schools. Fairfield is the only Butler County school on the list.
"The timing of this grant couldn't be better and we thank the Bengals for giving it to us," said Dr. Dan Roth, Mercy Health's chief medical officer and president of Mercy Health Physicians. "Important concussion-related legislation took effect in Ohio earlier this year to protect our kids from concussions and ensure they don't return to sports before they've fully healed."
Using the athletic trainers Mercy Health already has in place at its partner schools, Mercy Health will identify the student-athletes who will receive initial baseline testing. The athletic trainers have received specialized instruction in administering the Web-based test that looks at several factors, including reaction time, memory, brain processing speed and visual motor skills.
"As a member of USA Football Heads Up Advisory Board, I know the importance of recognizing the signs of a concussion and I'm very pleased that we're able to give Mercy Health this grant to help ensure the safety of our student athletes," said Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis.
Diana Ivkovich, athletic trainer for Fairfield schools, said the district has used the ImPact computerized testing for two years now, and the grant from Mercy Health will help the district increase capacity. About 300 student-athletes playing collision or contact sports of football, wresting, softball, baseball, basketball and soccer are tested every two years to attain baseline levels.
Ivkovich said the baseline testing is important for comparison in the event post-injury testing is needed. She said the district's return-to-play protocol after an injury extends over a period of days.
"It gives a nice, immediate snapshot of where the student is at," Ivkovich said. "The parents are very pleased; it's an extra step of assurance for them."