JACKSON, Miss – Parents with young athletes at risk for head injuries can now take advantage of a new type of concussion test offered at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“Concussions are a hot topic,” said Dr. William Mustain, Ph.D. audiologist and the director of UMMC’s Vestibular Laboratory. “This test will not only help determine if a concussion has occurred, but it can also … help answer the vital question: When is it safe for the athlete to play again?”
“But it is also important to get young athletes and other concussion candidates to the lab for a baseline test before an injury occurs,” Mustain said.
This information would disclose what normal balance is for each individual, instead of relying on a standard range of normal – a critical distinction, particularly for athletes, whose sense of balance is likely to be above average. Impaired balance or coordination is a sign of a concussion.
“If the same patient suffers a blow to the head later, new tests would be compared to the baseline,” said Dr. Ian Windmill, Ph.D. audiologist and chief of the Division of Communicative Sciences.
The lab was already using Posturography to evaluate people who complain of dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, etc., because of disease, trauma, aging or other conditions. Now Posturography joins the ImPACT, an established element of its concussion testing program, which measures memory, attention span, reaction time and more.
Because a concussion affects either the brain functions or the inner ear, causing imbalance, Posturography is helpful in detecting the injury.
The staff of the Vestibular Lab wants to enlist parents, coaches, schools, booster clubs, physicians and others in the baseline-testing endeavor, especially in light of some disturbing studies regarding concussions.
For more information contact Gary Pettus at (601) 815-9266.