Before this school year began, all Montgomery County Public School high school athletes went through baseline concussion tests to establish their normal levels of balance and brain function in case of concussion-like symptoms.

After the first fall sports season in which the tests were mandatory, the school system’s athletic director said the new procedure went “as smoothly as could be expected,” with about 45 students taking a follow-up test to check for concussions and ongoing symptoms after a concussion.

Some of those students took multiple retests, for a total of about 60 retests though testing information from all schools is not yet in.

“School personnel — athletic directors, coaches, and IT specialists — worked closely with their respective vendors in implementing tests in an organized and timely manner,” MCPS Athletic Director Dr. William Beattie wrote in an email. “Parents and students were carefully informed about the tests, and it appears in large measure that both embraced the tests as positive and proactive.”

Beattie said about 10,250 fall student-athletes took the baseline test. The school system expects about 7,000 to 8,000 more baseline tests before the end of the 2013-2014 school year for students who did not play a fall sport or have not voluntarily taken the test before. The tests are good for two years, according to the MCPS guidelines.

The test, administered through a computer program, establishes standard measures for a student’s memory skills, quickness of thought and problem solving ability.


Under the MCPS guidelines, a parent can request the free retest, administered by the school or MCPS-selected healthcare vendors for each school. Walter Johnson and Whitman are covered by Columbia-based MedStar. B-CC is covered by Silver Spring-based Metro Orthopedic & Sports Therapy.

Students are not required to take the retest in order to resume participation after a suspected concussion, but they are required to have approval from a doctor.

Flickr photo by markxmas03