New CUHS trainer’s focus: football concussions

August 9, 2012 

Recently hired as Coast Union’s athletic trainer, Bethany Magnuson is continuing a Bronco program that focuses on detecting possible concussions that result from the violence that occurs in football.

“Concussions are a big issue in football so we are re-implementing impact testing,” Magnuson explained during an on-campus interview this week. All the football players will be tested prior to the season, Magnuson explained; eventually she hopes to test all Coast Union athletes.

The Bronco football players will be measured in a “baseline” test for verbal and visual memory abilities, for their mental processing speed and their reaction time “measured to a 1/100th of a second,” Magnuson continued.

Once those data have been recorded, if the player suffers what appears to be a potential head injury, Magnuson can compare those post-injury symptoms (the player’s verbal and visual memory, his brain’s processing speed and reaction time) with the pre-season / pre-injury impact test data.

“After their injury we will administer the test every three days,” Magnuson explained, “to see how their brain is improving. And once their baseline and their post-test match up, they can take those results to a doctor and get cleared.”

Magnuson, hired on a part-time basis, recently worked as a trainer in Kansas and Nevada, but when her husband was transferred to Camp

Roberts, she applied for the Coast Union position. Her parents and her sister are Cambria residents, so she feels right at home.

“I’m very excited, I live right up the road.” As to the cool air and small town atmosphere, “I love it. Sixtyeight degrees here compared to Nevada, where it was 100 degrees outside every day.”

Asked about the most frequent injuries that football players suffer from, she mentioned muscle strains, knee and ankle sprains, concussions and rib bruising. In volleyball the most common physical ailments include muscle strains and sprains of the knees, ankles and wrists. There are also “overuse injuries” in volleyball like tendonitis of the shoulder.

In the other two fall sports—tennis and cross country—Magnuson noted that tennis players often suffer “…elbow tendonitis and wrist sprains” while cross country runners can come up with “patellar tendonitis and muscle strains.”

Dr. Kirk Azevedo will continue to serve as team physician, but as the team trainer Magnuson will attend home football games and provide “first responder” care on the field when a player is injured.

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