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Hartford HealthCare offers neurologic monitoring for athletes

September 25, 2023

It’s protected by the skull and often a helmet, but the brain can be affected by even the slightest impact to the head during sports. A new program at Hartford HealthCare’s Ayer Neuroscience Institute can help players of all ages and skill levels understand and monitor their brain health. Neurologic Monitoring for Athletes, part of the Institute’s Sports Neurology Program, offers annual, non-invasive testing for patients age 12 and up. “We are increasingly aware of the impact of head trauma on brain health, and there is a need to monitor the neurologic function of competitive athletes,” says Stephanie Alessi-LaRosa, MD, medical director of the Sports Neurology Program. Visits include:

  • Full neurologic physical exam.
  • Cognitive testing by the provider, which yields more clinical and individualized results than computerized testing.
  • Establishment of the neurologic function baseline that can be tracked yearly for any changes. If the athlete suffers a concussion, this baseline can also help with diagnosis and management.
  • Evaluating any existing neurologic symptoms or concerns.
“This is a way athletes and parents of athletes can be proactive about neurologic function and brain health,” Dr. Alessi-LaRosa says. In addition to identifying and monitoring brain health, the new service can also help athletes maximize sports performance. Test results can give Dr. Alessi-LaRosa insight that can lead to suggested changes in routine and play.