Managing concussions has been drastically transformed in just the last five years, according to Stephanie Guzzo, assistant athletic trainer at St. Mary’s College in Maryland. With 17 varsity sports, as well as club sports like Rugby and Ultimate Frisbee, and more than 350 athletes, Guzzo is on the front line of administering baseline tests, helping with diagnosis, and responsible for providing recovery care and clearing athletes for return to gameplay.
“I received a lot of concussion education in school, but when I first started training, there were no tools and the old baseline test, which many people still use, provided results that are difficult to understand and were ‘consistently inconsistent,’ “ said Guzzo, in her fourth year at St. Mary’s College. “Now we have this amazing product (XLNTbrain Sport) and I absolutely love it.”
Without XLNTbrain, Guzzo said concussion management typically only involved a baseline test called Impact, that doesn’t measure emotional scores or include any real-time reporting or recovery assistance from one of the world’s leading cognitive neurologists, Dr. Harry Kerasidis.
“The baseline test was originally designed as a research tool, not as a concussion management tool,” Guzzo said. “But it was the only thing out there. I’ve a had a lot of concussion training and still must complete several hours per year of continuing education credit, but I still couldn’t understand the results.”
A few years ago, Dr. Harry Kerasidis approached Stephanie and the athletic training staff at St. Mary’s with XLNTbrain Sport which is an alternative, more advanced approach to baseline testing and managing concussion care.
“Since then, what we have now is this amazing product, I absolutely love it,” Guzzo said about XLNTbrain. “It’s very simple, user-friendly -- you can actually understand what you’re looking at -- it’s easy to administer, and it provides a step-by-step recovery assistance plan with daily symptom tracking which gives us data to help make a decision about their condition to play or practice.”
Guzzo said she likes XLNTbrain is provided via the Internet. “You can send out an email invite, so everyone on the team is in a room. Put in a code. Watch the video and take the test. It’s nice because you can get everyone tested at once.” She added that even for the stragglers who miss the classroom, they can take it on their own and then training staff can verify if and when they took the baseline test.
When an athlete shows signs of a possible concussion, Guzzo doesn’t take any chances and will immediately remove the athlete from play. “We often air on the side of caution and wait to decide about the athlete’s condition after 24 hours because many times that’s when symptoms will show up, and then we’ll give them the XLNTbrain test and put them into ‘the program.’ ”
What would you say to all the athletic trainers out there about XLNTbrain?
“Get it. It is a concussion management program,” she said. “Once a concussion diagnosis has been made, it makes it a breeze. You just follow the steps. Anyone can do it. It’s so easy, you can use it anywhere...it makes the life of a athletic trainer much easier.”