Pulaski Memorial Hospital has sponsored the annual subscription to ImPACT for Eastern Pulaski and West Central Schools since 2010.
What is ImPACT?
Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) is a sophisticated, research-based computer test developed to help clinicians evaluate recovery following concussion. ImPACT is a 20-minute test battery that can be administered in the pre-season for a baseline and post-injury to track a concussion. ImPACT promotes an athlete's full recovery from injury and assists medical professionals in making a safe return-to-play decision and reducing the chance of follow-up concussions.
The ImPACT baseline test is ideally administered under the supervision of a clinician, athletic trainer, athletic director, or even a coach. The test involves puzzles and tasks to measure a variety of factors. An initial test or "baseline" test is taken before a concussion occurs and establishes baseline results. When a concussion is suspected, a follow-up or post-injury test is administered to see if the results have changed from the baseline to help diagnose and manage the concussion. Additional follow-up tests may be administered over several days or weeks to assist the clinician with the return to play decision.
A student-athlete may need to be tested more than once, depending upon the results of the test, as compared to the baseline. There is no charge for this testing. ImPACT results may need to be released to a student athlete's primary care physician, neurologist, or other treating physician. General information about the test data may be provided to a student's guidance counselor and teachers, for the purposes of providing temporary academic modifications, if necessary. It is required that a consent for testing be on file as well as a release of athletic health information for those persons noted above.
Traditional neurological and radiologic procedures such as CT, MRI, and EEG, although helpful in identifying more serious concerns (e.g., skull fracture, hematoma, contusion), are not useful in identifying the effects of a concussion. Such tests are typically unremarkable or normal, even in athletes sustaining a severe concussion. The reason for this is that a concussion is a metabolic rather than structural injury. Thus, structural neuroimaging techniques are insensitive to the effects of a concussion. As a result, doctors often have to rely on subjective observations of a patient's self-reporting of symptoms to diagnose a concussion and decide when it's safe for the patient to return to playing sports and other activities.
Athletes are often reluctant to admit their symptoms, because they're afraid they won't be able to play, and observations of their signs and symptoms are subjective. At the forefront of proper concussion management is the implementation of baseline and/or post-injury neurocognitive testing. Such evaluation can help to objectively evaluate the concussed athlete's post-injury condition and track recovery for safe return to play, thus preventing the cumulative effects of a concussion.
ImPACT is designed to provide sensitive information in the form of cognitive data and symptom reporting in athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion. This information can be used to help determine recovery from injury and safe return to participation and overall clinical management issues.
One of the key factors in determining an athlete's recovery curve is to compare an athlete's post-concussive performance and symptoms to their baseline (pre-concussion) levels, rather than using group normative data. This is the best method of controlling for inter-individual differences. In order to do this, the athlete must have taken ImPACT prior to sustaining a concussion. However, in the event that baseline testing is not possible, ImPACT has a normative database of thousands of non-injured athletes, and such data can be used effectively for adequate comparison and safe decisions for return to play.
For more information about ImPACT please click on the link below: