Local health organizations team up to offer free concussion baseline screenings, educate student athletes

This image released by Columbia Pictures shows Will Smith in a scene from the film, "Concussion." Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born forensic pathologist in Pittsburgh who knows nothing about football when he performs the autopsy on former Steelers center Mike Webster. Omalu discovers CTE in Webster's brain, setting him on a journey that exposes the concussion crisis. (Columbia Pictures via AP)

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) –  In light of the new feature film “Concussion” out this week, two local health organizations are teaming up to make baseline concussion screenings more accessible to student athletes.

“Concussion” tells the story of real-life Forensic Pathologist Dr. Bennett Omalu who discovered a brain disease after doing an autopsy on pro NFL athletes.

The movie is inspiring local health pro’s like Dr. Scott Darling with UBMD Orthapaedics and Sports Medicine to take action. He said, “There’s always a risk for concussion, and concussion is always going to be part of sports no matter what.”

But there is a way to make sure your student athlete doesn’t suffer from serious brain damage, you can get them a baseline-screening test. In addition to UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is offering such tests.

Dr. Darling said, “That way, we can use that test as a tool to compare to, in case they have a concussion again, and they can take the test again when they’re symptomatic from the concussion, and we can compare all those values.”

You can’t diagnose a concussion from the computerized test, but it is part of the process. Athletes can get a half price discount for the screening.

But if you’ve seen the movie, bring your ticket stub with you and your screening is free. Darling said the research and technology has completely changed even in just the past decade.

He said, “We’ve worked with old Bills and Sabres players, and years ago they would get hit in the head and the coaches would say, “how many fingers one, or two do you see? Okay? Go back in!”

From Dec. 28 to Jan. 8, athletes between the ages of 12 and 30 will be offered a $20 ImPACT baseline concussion screening for just $10 at UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine’s Summit Healthplex office, 6934 Williams Road, Niagara Falls.

You can call (716) 298-5903 to make an appointment.

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