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Tuckahoe School System Launches New Fitness Initiative

Students will be tested using a device that measures "the balance and symmetry of the body in motion."

In an effort to promote a health-conscious school environment, the Tuckahoe school district will implement a new "physical assessment protocol" beginning this fall for all K-12 students.

The move is designed to help students with their fitness levels, and it will be run by a public/private partnership between the district and the Town of Eastchester.

Varsity and JV athletes will be the first ones tested under the program.

Below is the announcement from Dr. Barbara Nuzzi, superintendent:

Beginning in Fall 2014, Tuckahoe Union Free School District will institute a physical assessment protocol for student in grades K through 12. This initiative will be a public/private partnership between the district’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, under the leadership of Director Rod Mergardt, and Eastchester’s Fitness & Recovery/Urgent Care owner/director, Dr. Mack Sullivan.

Testing will begin in August 2014 with the varsity and junior varsity candidates for all Fall sports. Each student athlete will perform a simple 30 second marching-in-place exercise using a device called OPTO JUMP which will measure the balance and symmetry of the body in motion. OPTO JUMP utilizes optical and timing technology to measure time when the foot is on the floor to the millisecond. It is not a diagnostic tool, rather a means of determining objective measurement. The first recording of the measurement will be considered the student's "Baseline Gait Print."

Modified sports athletes will be tested next, followed by the remaining High School and Middle School students during the first two weeks of Physical Education. Finally, by the end of September the same test will be repeated with students at William E. Cottle School. This will provide the district with a "baseline gait print" on every student in the district.

The value of this initiative is two-fold:
1 -- 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.

2 -- The signature aspect of this service is its contribution to the district’s Concussion Management Plan. 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 first of those steps is assessment by a physician and administration of the IMPACT Test, which is the measurement of the cognitive functioning of the body. The baseline cognitive test for IMPACT is required by each athlete prior to the first practice and that will be conducted at the Fitness and Recovery facility, as in the past.

This service is being provided to the Tuckahoe UFSD through Dr. Sullivan and his highly qualified and certified staff without cost to the school district. For more information: Mr. Rod Mergardt, TUFSD Director PE, Health & Athletics at 914-337-6600 x1399 or Dr. Mack Sullivan at Fitness and Recovery at 914-395-3691. 

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