By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — School officials are working hard to make sure student athletes remain healthy and safe.
In the event of a concussion, it’s a priority to keep students home and under a doctor’s care for as long as it takes before returning to the playing field.
As part of the district’s policy, student athletes take part in computer-based software to assess any concussion-related injuries and to make sure they don’t return to play until they are ready.
Students take a baseline ImPACT software program test online. If there is ever a concussion, a test is also taken within 24 hours of the injury.
Information is then sent to medical officials, who assess the results and form a plan for the student’s return to health.
School Board member John Robinson questioned why students are even put into at-risk situations on the playing field.
“At some point, we have to look at (how much danger) is there,” Robinson said.
Right now, there are 499 Londonderry high school students taking part in sports, 117 of them playing football.
It’s not just football, officials said, it’s also cheerleading, wrestling, soccer and even swimming that can results in injuries and concussions.
Some students are injured without ever taking to a sports field. Nurses in the district are trained to handle concussions.
Superintendent Nathan Greenberg said the district is doing a good job with its concussion policy and making sure students don’t come back to school or to sports before they are healthy and ready.
“Last year, we even overruled a parent’s request to (allow a child) to come back and play,” Greenberg said.
Students playing sports at Pinkerton Academy are also taking to the computer to use testing for concussion assessment.
The school also uses ImPACT to assess its students.
Students work through several tests, including memory games, cognitive tasks and recall tests.
A first, or baseline, test is given before the student plays. Another is administered if an injury occurs. Physicians then analyze the data and present the findings back to Pinkerton.
Both schools say the testing is imperative to make sure students athletes are kept as healthy as possible.
Londonderry School Board members asked athletic staff to provide more finite details on the number of injured students and what sports are most likely to cause concussions.
“I would like to see the numbers of concussions so we can have a complete vision of how we are dealing with this,” board member Susan Hendricks said.