On the Southeast side of Kansas City, Missouri is Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, home to more than 15,000 students. In 2018, Matt Falke joined the district and now works alongside 5 other athletic trainers to care for the athletes across the district’s 3 high schools. Together, they care for over 1,600 athletes per year.
In 2020, Matt and his team were looking for a tool to help them improve their baseline testing process, as well as their sideline evaluation, and return-to-play-processes. When using ImPACT for baseline testing, they were limited by the size of their computer labs and due to the length of the test, the process took up to 7 days to complete. Matt started looking for a research backed tool that provided the same quality of objective data, while also improving the district’s processes.
Since switching to Sway 2 years ago, Baseline Testing and Return-to-Play have become much easier for Matt Falke and Lee’s Summit School District. Falke says when Lee’s Summit School District made the switch, Sway facilitated the transition to occur during the spring semester with slower seasons. This made testing large numbers of athletes at once easier. Having the ability to test on a phone made it possible for them to test the entire football team in one session instead of having to break it up between multiple days. Matt also says “the athletes actually enjoy testing because it's almost like a video game and fun for them”. Beyond Baseline Testing, the app-based testing is invaluable to use as an evaluative tool for a sideline Return-to-Play decision, because “Sway provides data to ensure an athlete is at their baseline, in order for me to return them to play” should an injury arise within a game
Having Vestibular- Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) within the Sway test allows for a more comprehensive test when included with cognitive and balance testing. The efficiency of VOMs being incorporated into the Sway test, and not conducted separately, provides accurate and time-saving data points. When looking at an athlete’s baseline, Falke can compare both concussion symptoms survey and data points of the VOMS test in one easy, digital location. While completing the Return-to-Play process, if an athlete is deficient in one specific area, they can re-test that section only instead of having to complete an entire 30 minute test, which Falke says is one of his favorite features of Sway. This creates a flexible, but still safe Return-to-Play that is tailored specifically to the athlete.
While progressing through the Return-to-Play, Sway provides Falke the ability to provide his athletes with an individualized code so symptoms can be tracked during days athletes are not at school. The individualized codes also create an easy communication pathway between the athletic training staff and the team physician. Falke is also able to give their team physician a code for access to an athlete’s Sway profile. The physician can then accurately advise on proceeding forward in the Return-to-Play process remotely from their Sway app.
Initially some of Athletic Trainers in the Lee’s Summit School District were apprehensive about moving to Sway, however Falke says Sway’s customer service & accessibility made the transition smooth. Now using Sway for 2 years, he says “Sway is the up-coming gold standard of Baseline Testing”, and even says when talking with other athletic trainers in the area, he asks why they haven’t yet made the switch to Sway.