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Can These Brain Scans Make High School Football Safer?

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

Posted: 6:01 AM July 16, 2018

By: LAist

Author: Jill Replogle

-- Munir McClain sits down in front of a laptop and fits a futuristic-looking skull cap over his head of tightly cropped hair.

The soon-to-be-senior football player at JSerra Catholic High School is crunched for time, but Erin Laswell assures him that it won't take more than 20 minutes. The scan she's about to do will establish baseline brain health.

"Your hair cut's going to help us with the time," she tells him, "because yours is so short, we're able to get a better connection right away."

Laswell leads McClain, 17, through a series of simple exercises designed to measure brain activity. He puts on headphones and clicks a mouse when he hears an odd sound; then has to touch numbered dots on the laptop screen in ascending order.

It's all over in about five minutes. The results, proponents hope, will help McClain, his coaches, parents and doctors better assess how bad a potential future head injury is, and when it's ok to send him back out on the field.

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