What Is ImPACT?
ImPACT is an acronym for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing.
It is comprised of 5 simple steps that help to better measure any potential brain or skull damage and ensure an athlete’s safety.
Before diving head first into what the 5 steps are and how they operate, it is important to understand the serious effects and in some cases life altering implications of concussions.
Why Does Concussion Management Matter?
Concussions can occur in any sport or physical activity. As children and athletes of all ages are playing longer and harder than ever before, the potential for concussion (a mild traumatic brain injury), continues to increase. Fortunately, with proper management and careful return to participation, the ability to protect the long-term health of athletes is more effective than ever.
What Are The Signs Of A Concussion?
After receiving a blow to the head, athletes generally report one or more of the following symptoms:
- balance problems
- double or fuzzy vision
- sensitivity to light or noise
- feeling sluggish
- feeling foggy
- change in sleep patterns
- concentration or memory problems
The ImPACT Model promotes the highest level of care and a safe return to play for athletes of all ages, from younger children (ages 10 and up) to collegiate and professional athletes.
To get started, Reid has several ImPACT certified providers
Learn More About The 5 Steps Of ImPACT Testing
- Educate athletes, parents, coaches, and teachers on concussions.
- Take an ImPACT Training Webinar or Video on Demand course, or attend a Workshop to learn about baseline test administration.
- Have a concussion management protocol on-hand and a ready team of key professionals prepared to treat an athlete.
- Roles and duties should be established for athletic trainer, concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD), and rehabilitation.
- Have parents sign high school permission slip.
- Schedule supervised baselines in school’s computer lab.
- Test Administrator confirms all baselines are valid. If invalid, retest athlete.
- Conduct sideline assessment.
- ImPACT mobile apps, such as Sideline or PCSI may be utilized in this step.
- If concussion is suspected, immediately remove from play/activity.
- Athletic trainer sets up referral for concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD).
- Conduct vestibular screening.
- At the discretion of trained medical personnel, conduct brain imaging through MRI, CT scan or a Near-Infrared device such as an infra scanner.
- Athlete to take supervised post-injury test 24-72 hours after injury.
- Athletic trainer continues to coordinate ongoing care with concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD).
- Team coordinates care between athlete, parent, MD/DO/PhD, athletic trainers, teachers, and coaches.
- Does the athlete need additional and more extensive neuropsychological testing? If so, refer to Neuropsychologist.
- Does the athlete need vestibular/physical therapy? If so, refer to Physical Therapist.
- A. Symptom free at rest and with cognitive exertion.
B. Post-injury test within normal range of baseline.
C. Normal vestibular evaluation.
- If A, B, C are not met, return to Step 3.
- If A, B, C are met, obtain written clearance for progression to activity by supervising professional that has specific training in concussion management.
- Implement stepwise return-to-play progression, beginning with light non-contact activity progressing to full non-contact exertion, with approval of a trained medical professional.
- Return-to-play decisions should always be made by a concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD).
- No recurring symptoms at rest or following physical or cognitive exertion.
- ImPACT test scores back to baseline.
- Athlete’s final ImPACT score is set as their new baseline.