EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Beginning with the next academic year, students in the Tuckahoe School District will be tested not only mentally, but also physically, with the beginning of a new physical assessment protocol.
Within the first two weeks of the school year, all students in the district will be asked to perform a 30-second marching-in-place exercise using an Opto Jump device to measure the balance and symmetry of the body in motion.
Testing will begin in August for athletes vying for positions on varsity and junior varsity sports teams in the fall.
The Opto Jump device uses optical and timing technology to determine time when the foot is on the floor, down to the millisecond. The first recording of the measurement will be considered an athlete’s “Baseline Gait Print.“
After varsity athletes are tested, students participating in modified sports will be on deck. The remaining high and middle school students will be tested during the first two weeks of gym class, followed by students at Cottle Elementary School.
According to Schools Superintendent Barbara Nuzzi, these tests will provide the district with a “baseline gait print” on every student, which will contribute to the district’s Concussion Management Plan, since that information will be readily available following a potential injury.
“Since balance and stability are measured, if a performance indicating a ‘red flag’ is observed, the district will simply refer that information to the school nurse for further assessment,” she noted in a statement. “By having a ‘baseline gait print,’ an objective measurement of dynamic function of every student, the district will be positioned to include that in the ‘Return to Learn’ protocols following concussion.”
The Opto Jump testing is being provided by Dr. Mack Sullivan, the owner and director of Fitness and Recovery. The program will be under the leadership of Sullivan and Rob Mergardt, the district’s director of physical education and athletics.