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Preseason baseline tests can help student-athletes after concussions

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 16:42:18-04

CINCINNATI -- Jenna Setters, a sophomore at Cincinnati Country Day, works hard to stay healthy so she can play her sport.

"Playing soccer is what I love most," she said. "I can't play my 100 percent if I don't have a strong body and a strong mind."

Jenna recently took a 30-minute baseline test through Mercy Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. The exercise basically records her cognitive function pre-season, in case she takes a hit and suffers a concussion during a game.

She already knows the symptoms like headaches, dizziness and feeling "kind of out of it." But it's not always clear how soon after those symptoms go away that someone can return to the game. That's where the baseline comes in.

Doctors can compare the student-athlete's post-concussion test results with the pre-season brain function on records. Then they can see when the brain has "reset itself," according to Dr. Edward Marcheschi with Mercy Health.

It means a lot to Jenna's mom, Shelly Setters.

"She plans to be a doc someday, want to make sure she stays healthy," Setters said.

Jenna's never had a diagnosed concussion, but it taking the right steps in the event that happens, according to Marcheschi. Not sitting out a concussion could have real repercussions.

Marcheschi said the mere force of a hit doesn't solely determine a concussion. Other factors include hydration, cerebral blood flow and the viscosity of spinal fluid at the time of the hit.