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Concussion Bill of Rights #5: Neuropsychological Testing for Athletes In Contact Sports

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With several recent studies demonstrating the clinical value of neuropsychological (NP) testing in evaluating the cognitive effects of and recovery from sport-related concussions, such testing has become increasingly popular in recent years, with the 2008 Zurich consensus statement on sports concussions1 viewing NP testing as an "aid in the clinical decisionmaking process" and an "important component in any return to play protocol." 

Thus, the fifth right of parents under the Parent's Concussion Bill of Rights is the right to expect that, if their child is playing contact sports, that he or she undergo pre-season baseline and post-injury neuropsychological testing.

But while baseline pre-injury and post-injury testing is now ubiquitous at the professional and collegiate level and is becoming more common at the high school level as well, the cost of either conventional pen-and-paper or computerized testing, and the fact that most states require advance training and licensing to purchase and use them, have thus far restricted how widely testing has been implemented at the youth level and in rural areas where access to neuropsychologists for consultation is limited.

Ways need to be found to fund such testing programs and to allow for Web-based testing on a wide scale, especially for high risk sports such as football, hockey, soccer, basketball and lacrosse, regardless of the age or level. It is our goal at YouthSportsParents to become a place where every youth athlete can come to get the kind of testing that is currently out of the reach of the vast majority of athletes in contact sports.