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Lodi High School to Start Testing Athletes for Concussions

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LODI --

Add Lodi High School to the growing number of schools in the area to test athletes for concussions.

Starting next week, all football players at Lodi will take, what amounts to, a timed reading test.

"This is a tool for us to let us know what is going on, and to help us out," explained Robert Sperling, who has coached the varsity football team for the Flames the past three seasons.

"Back when I was playing," Sperling recalled. "They said 'you rung your bell ... you'll be fine ... get back in there.' We've learned a lot more now."

Helping to prevent concussions  has been at the forefront of high school football programs across the country the last decade.

Now, at Lodi High School, they've decided on a newer test called the "King-Devick" test.

"It's a better way of managing, I think, during practice and at the games," Sperling said.

Every football player, from freshman to senior at Lodi, will be given the cognitive exam to record a baseline score.

The test consists of a series of cards with numbers placed in alternating patterns. The players must read each number, in order, from start to finish. And they are timed while doing so.

"We're looking at rapid eye movement as well as attention,"explained Dr. Amaal Starling with the Mayo Clinic. "Those are two things we know are very much affected in our concussed athletes.

And the cost, per test, is dirt-cheap.

"It's only like $5 per player," Sperling said. "I mean, that's nothing to be safe, to be cautious.