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Concussion concerns prompt Illinois athletes to get tested

Over the past year, concussions have been brought into the spotlight as a major injury received in sports. Several studies have shown that this type of traumatic brain injury has left some athletes, both amateur and professional, with long-term effects. Because of this, two high schools in Glenview and Northbrook, Illinois are having their student athletes tested for concussions.

The two high schools, Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South, have hockey programs. In September, Glenbrook North began having its athletes tested for the brain injury, which is often acquired by participants in a contact sport. That is when the Chicago Blackhawks, the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup champions, created their own testing program. While the program that Glenbrook North's athletes were participating in cost $25 for each player at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, the one sponsored by the NHL team was free of charge. With several medical clinics in the area testing teenage players, it is not surprising that Glenbrook South, Glenbrook North's main rival, opted into the free program.

Several high-profile studies showed that professional football players were experiencing long-term effects from the concussions they had received while playing. This, along with other injuries received by players of other professional sports, brought attention to the issue of concussions in younger players, especially those at the youth level.

With its proactive athletic administration, Glenbrook North was ahead of the curve in testing its players for these sorts of injuries. According to the head of the team's safety committee, baseline testing will become a regular occurrence for its players. The tests examine an individual's attention, information processing skills, response to visual and verbal stimuli and memory.

Many sports players are faced with a constant pressure to perform at the highest level possible and this pressure could lead to untreated concussions which could cause long-term brain damage.

Source: Glenview Patch, "High School Hockey Players Line Up For Concussion Testing," George Castle, Nov. 11, 2011

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