If your child plays high impact sports, there's a new test at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that may prevent them from getting back on the field too soon after an injury.
The test began with professional athletes and now, it may be a good option for child athletes.
There are some obvious signs of trouble doctors can point to when they are looking for brain injury.
But sometimes, even when kids and teens are involved in a big hit, the signs of trouble are more subtle, and it's not always clear when patients are ready to start playing again.
"With neuropsychological testing, which is what this test is, it gives us a baseline," explained Dr. Andrew Gregory, associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at VUMC.
"So if you have a concussion, we can give you the test again and see if you're back to your baseline," he added.
What Dr. Gregory hopes this baseline test, referred to as the ImPACT test, will do is prevent athletes from getting back on the field too soon after they've had a concussion.
"If you have a child who plays a high risk sport, like football, soccer or rugby, then I think this is something I would do," Dr. Gregory told Nashville's News 2.
In about 20 minutes, the ImPACT exams test patients on reaction time, memory and attention span.
The program also collects important information on patient history and any past injuries.
Currently, ImPACT is only offered for community athletes age 12 and up, but Dr. Gregory said they are working on a test for younger children.
"We follow symptoms a lot of times, and if kids are honest about their symptoms, 'Yeah I'm still having a headache, or I don't feel myself,' then we're not going to let you go back and play," said Dr. Gregory, "But if they lie and say they feel good, but do terribly on their test, we'll know something is up."
Dr. Gregory added, "It is important to have the test done before there is an injury."
Testing will be offered at three clinic locations including the Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute at Vanderbilt's main campus, the Vanderbilt Bone and Joint Clinic in Franklin and Vanderbilt Orthopaedic's at Mt. Juliet.
To schedule an appointment, call the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center hotline at 615-875-VSCC.