New developments in the Back vs. Benefis case today as an expert witness took the stand.
Dr. Michael Collins works for the Sports Concussion Program at the University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He helped to develop the ImPACT test which Robert Back was given days before the injury that changed his life.
Collins says a trained clinician should be administering the test and looking at the results, as the one on one time with the patient helps to identify a concussion, and not just the test itself.
“Is it a perfect test? No, it’s a tool. But when you use ImPACT and you ask the right questions and you do the right physical exam, and knowledge of the injury, putting that together you can make the right decisions,” said Dr. Michael Collins.
Decisions which can be tough for someone like Jessica Hansen, who was Back's athletic trainer.
“There is a lot of great information in there but you have to look at the numbers, and for someone who isn’t trained in this, it’s very difficult to do that,” said Collins.
Collins says Back’s baseline test prior to his injury might have been invalid, and trained clinicians would have noticed this.
“We train clinicians to do this. To look at that data that have this (the invalid test) going on to retest them or sit down and talk to them as to why it happened,” said Collins.
For Hansen, this was not the case, as she said in an email to coach Graham “I looked at Robert’s ImPACT and it was actually better than his baseline test! He is okay concussion wise.”
However, the defense argued Robert and his family had met with 2 different doctors who both did not clear him to play until Monday the following week.
In a concussion fact sheet developed by Collins, it is the responsibility of the parents to not let their child play until a health care professional says they are clear.
Also, it is unclear whether Back brought the doctor’s note to Coach Graham and Coach Lake explaining why he cannot play until Monday.
The defense claims no attempts were made by the parents to tell the coaches or the trainer about Robert being out until Monday, even though the Back family and doctors met in person.