The Gwinnett Medical Center Sports Medicine and Concussion Institute is rolling out a new Care-A-Van to make baseline testing, diagnosis and treatment of concussions more accessible.
"If you don't have a baseline, you don't have anything to compare to determine if your symptoms have improved," said Dr. Sadiq El-Amin, Medical Director of the Concussion Institute.
The Care-A-Van will travel to Friday night's football game between Mill Creek High School and Dacula High School.
The Concussion Institute sees more kids coming in with injuries from football than any other sport, but it's followed closely by soccer, then cheerleading.
Rachel Havens was 13 years old when she suffered her first concussion from a head to ground concussion while she was playing soccer.
"That concussion was not managed properly," said Rachel's mom Paige Havens. "They put her back in too soon, so when she sustained a second concussion later that fall, it was more severe. That left her with long-term damage."
Managing a concussion the right way is critical, and baseline testing can be a big part of that.
It's been mandatory for middle and high school student athletes in the Gwinnett County School System for years.
"It helps us if you do receive a concussion to know what your normal is," said Kristen Crea, Director of Sports Medicine at the GMC Concussion Institute, which uses a computer program called ImPACT and offers baseline testing to kids as young as five years old.
The Care-A-Van will be set up at the following Friday night football games in Gwinnett County:
• 9/22: Norcross at Central Gwinnett
• 10/6: Peachtree Ridge at Mt. View
• 10/13: Mill Creek at Peachtree Ridge
• 10/20: Peachtree Ridge at North Gwinnett
• 10/27: Dacula at Lanier
• 11/3: Archer at Shiloh