BULLARD, Texas (KLTV) - Catching traumatic injuries before they become worse... There’s an app for that.
“There’s not a sport that’s immune from concussion,” says Head Athletic Trainer for Bullard ISD, Jeff “Doc” Shrode.
In the past, Texas schools have grouped their athletes in computer labs to perform Impact Tests. Bullard ISD is one of nearly 30 schools partnering with Baylor Scott & White Texas Joint and Spine Hospital to use “HitCheck,” a phone or computer app for trainers to help student-athletes who suffer head injuries during the season.
“It is one tool in a toolbox of things we use to diagnose concussions and also get return-to-play,” Shrode says.
Return to play protocol is a list of steps young athletes take before getting back to the game full-time. Every student-athlete takes an initial baseline test. Then, if a concussion is suspected, they’re run through the test again and again to gauge progress.
“We use it on the field and during the recovery period, as they get better,” says Shrode, “their test scores should get better.”
The app has cognitive tests checking balance, memory, reaction time, and more. While several larger school districts employ their own athletic trainer, smaller districts use outreach trainers like Mandy Bibb -- she serves multiple schools throughout the year.
“While we can’t be at three schools at one time, it allows us to access what we need,” Bibb says.
When one of the schools Bibb serves had an athlete get injured while playing an away game out of town, they were able to complete the post-injury test from the sidelines.
Bibb tells us, “I was able to access the results immediately and compare it to his baseline, and we were able to start an immediate plan of care.”
Trainers aren’t the only ones using the results. They also report them to any physicians that continue with one of their athlete’s care.
Since Bullard ISD is partnering with Baylor Scott & White, the app is free for the district. We’re told the app is used from junior high to collegiate level sports medicine departments.