Sitrin offering Baseline Concussion Screening for just $20.00

By Gary Liberatore

Ryan Monaco graduated from Notre Dame High School in Utica in 2000.

He has since become a physical therapist and currently works at Sitrin Healthcare in New Hartford, but on Friday, he was back at his alma mater helping young athletes go through some rather unique testing, that may ultimately save their lives.

The testing is called Baseline Concussion Screening, and is designed to see how a person's brain functions before a concussion, so that in the event they do sustain a concussion, the results can be compared against the results of the exact same testing afterward.

Monaco says the results can prove invaluable, "We give parents the results, we also hold on to the results, and we give a copy to the school, so the coaches can have it, so if they're at an away game somewhere and something happens, they have all the information."

The testing consists of two parts, a cognitive part, where the athlete is asked a series of questions, like listening to a series of numbers such as 1,2,3 and asked to say those numbers backwards, 3,2,1.

The second part consists of outfitting the athlete with a jacket with about five yellow balls on the back, and stepping having them step onto a platform.

Monaco says two cameras detect the balance of the person, first with his or her eyes open and then with their eyes closed, "In the unfortunate instance when somebody does have a concussion, they come back to Sitrin, they get tested under the same circumstances that they were prior to injury, so we can have a good value to compare on so we can help determine when the best time to return to play is."

Monaco and James Wallace, Sitrin's Director of Rehabilitation Services conducted the screenings on Thursday and Friday at Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School basically to get the word out that Sitrin is now offering this testing to anyone who would like to have it done.

Wallace says the decision on when to allow an athlete to return to the playing field after sustaining a concussion has become a big issue internationally, "We do know now with the literature that there's a significant risk of injury if they go back too soon. If they get another head injury, it could make things worse, not only that, we're also starting to see long term ramifications from concussions."

Notre Dame Athletic Director Gene Leuthauser was on hand on Friday at the school and says all parents should think about having this testing done for their child, even if the child does not play sports in school.

Leuthauser says he hopes the Sitrin professionals will come back to Notre Dame in the fall, "Because we have accidents in gym class. Also, last year we had a student fall and hit his head on a desk, you don't know. So we are starting with the athletes, because it's a new program, but once the school year starts we'll make it available to all the students, whoever wants to get tested, should."

Sitrin offers the testing at their New Hartford facility for just $20.00.

If you are interested in setting up an appointment, just call Sitrin's Concussion Management Program at (315) 737-2246.

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