Baseline Testing helps doctors diagnose, treat concussions

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- It's football season and athletes across the country are pumped up.

While parents are ready for a great season on the gridiron. most can't help but wonder how safe the game is. After all, countless stories of concussions and the lasting effects continue to grab headlines.

The Banner Concussion Center is rolling out a pioneering program called Baseline Testing. Athletes are encouraged to run through a series of tests to measure eye movement, balance, response time and brain activity. The baseline test gives doctors a measuring point in the event the same player comes back concussed.

"It's invaluable to have a baseline test because now I know what their balance is like. I know how their brains react” Dr. Steven Erickson, medical director of the Concussion Center explained. “I know how their eyes move and I know their cognitive reaction time."

This basic information allows doctors to better understand the severity of the brain injury and can also help retrain the brain to get back to where the athlete was before the injury.

A full test costs $50. Although insurance doesn't cover it, if the athlete returns with a concussion, insurance does pay because it becomes a medical condition.