You have probably heard of ImPACT testing and might be wondering exactly what it is and which student athletes should be using it. Good questions. ImPACT stands for ‘Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing’ and was developed to help qualified practitioners make sound decisions about concussion management.
Here is how the program works: children over the age of 10 years take a 20 minute on-line test that gauges a number of cognitive functions such as reaction time, non-verbal problem solving and working memory. This initial test provides a baseline against which, subsequent, post-trauma tests will be measured. If an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion, he will be tested and retested until results indicate that it is safe for him to resume normal activity, including sports.
Back to the question, “which sports merit an ImPACT baseline test?” Of course all contact sports—football, hockey and soccer and the like, as well as non-contact sports that present the possibility of head trauma such as skate boarding, skiing, figure skating.
Many such sports require helmets though, so why bother? The use of a well-fitting helmet that is appropriate for a specific sport can prevent many but not all concussions, or at the very least diminish the severity of an injury. But don’t be persuaded that safety equipment is all that is needed.
Even if your very active child is not playing in an organized sports program, you might want to consider ImPACT testing—concussions can happen anywhere, anytime. To learn more about this program, ask your PYAM provider; or you can call the Central Appointment line (651-256-6714) to schedule the test without a referral.
The $25.00 test is not covered by insurance and must be paid for at the time of service.