Part of providing a meaningful experience for student-athletes means ensuring systems and tools are in place to enhance care for their health. A new gift from the Kodiaks Association means Lethbridge College student-athletes, coaches and training staff members will have a new tool to help diagnose, track and treat concussions, while safely returning student-athletes to action once they’re ready.
The gift has allowed the Kodiaks to purchase and implement the HeadCheck Health system, which helps with concussion diagnosis and recovery. Used by teams and leagues across Canada, HeadCheck allows coaches or training personnel to conduct advanced digital baseline and post-injury assessments for head injuries and quickly and easily share that information with the Kodiaks chief medical staff. The result is better care for Kodiaks student-athletes.
“The sports and medical world have learned so much about concussions in recent years, and it’s important we have these tools that can help our skilled trainers begin immediate care for our student-athletes,” says Todd Caughlin, Kodiaks Athletics manager. “The Kodiaks Association has made it possible. I want to thank the association for once again being there to support our student-athletes, as it has done so often over the years.”
The Kodiaks Association is a dedicated group of boosters that has operated since 1996 with a mandate to support Kodiaks Athletics by funding initiatives and equipment that go beyond the normal scope of institutional funding.
“As an association, our goal is to ensure the Kodiaks student-athletes have access to resources they need to succeed in action, in the classroom and in life,” says Jean Schnarr, Kodiaks Association president. “When we learned of the HeadCheck Health system and the benefits it provides for students, it was an easy choice to support its implementation. We’re glad we’re able to provide this resource and we feel this system will provide further assurances to the student-athletes that they will be well taken care of when injuries do occur.”
The HeadCheck app will be available to all Kodiaks coaches and training staff. Its features include a detailed return to play protocol that can be implemented in conjunction with the Kodiaks’ medical staff, ensuring student-athletes are fully cleared and safe to get back on the court or field following an injury.
“Concussions are one of those things that we can't see, we can't get a picture of it, so we rely on tools like this to help us diagnose a concussion,” says Carolyn Glavacevic, Kodiaks head athletic therapist, who stresses all student-athletes also receive physician care for head injuries. “The HeadCheck app really has no room for error, and the information we get from it is a lot better than what we get from paper and pen testing. It has memory questions and balance tests; it can assess brain processing speed and other things like that so we can diagnose what’s wrong. I think it helps the confidence of both our student-trainers and our student-athletes.”
The HeadCheck system was implemented during the latter-part of the 2021 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference soccer season, while the Kodiaks basketball and volleyball teams have all undergone preseason baseline testing with the system.
The Kodiaks Association raises money through a season-long 50/50 raffle and by participating in casinos, with all funds returned to the athletics program. On-going initiatives include funding training system aids, athletic therapy equipment, scholarships for student-athletes and more.