IMPACT™ NEUROCOGNITIVE TESTING
Concussion Screening and Treatment: One of the specialty services that Legacy Medical Centers provides is free baseline concussion screening for all athletes ten years of age or older. We at Legacy Medical Centers want everyone to be aware of the serious dangers of concussions. It is our belief that baseline screening for athletes is essential for proper treatment should a concussive injury occur. We are proud to offer free baseline ImPACTTM neurocognitive and BIODEXTM balance/vestibular assessments.
There are more than 3.8 million sports related concussions that occur annually in the U.S. The good news is that the vast majority of individuals will heal and return to baseline levels of neurocognitive function with properly directed physical and cognitive rest. Since no two concussions are exactly the same, individualized treatment is necessary for successful recovery.
At Legacy Medical Centers, our concussion specialists follow the Consensus Best Practice, Diagnosis and Management of Sport-Related Concussion published by the NCAA and endorsed by the American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Sports Medicine and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
Before an athlete’s return to competition, the importance of complete symptom resolution following a concussion cannot be overemphasized. From the baseline testing, to immediate post-concussion assessment and treatment, to school accommodations and eventual return-to-play, let our experts lead the way.
Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing
ImPACT™ (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is an on-line, user-friendly computer-based testing program specifically designed for the management of sports-related concussion. ImPACT is a research-based software tool developed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that evaluates multiple aspects of neurocognitive function, including memory, attention, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussion symptoms.
Baseline Testing refers to neurocognitive testing under normal conditions before injury, often conducted in the pre-season. The baseline test provides a snapshot of how one’s brain functions in normal, everyday circumstances. During the baseline testing the athlete and/or parent will complete a demographic questionnaire that provides contact information and his or her medical and academic history. It takes ~30 minutes to complete the baseline test. The testing application formulates “baseline data” which is stored on a secure, HIPPA compliant server at ImPACT Testing Services, Inc. which can be retrieved anytime at a later date if an athlete sustains a concussion.
All test-takers will need to sign a consent form in order to participate. Ages 10 and older are able to participate in the testing. Anyone under 18-years of age will require their parents’ written permission in order to participate in baseline testing.
FREE BASELINE CONCUSSION IMPACT NEUROCOGNITIVE & BIODEX BALANCE TEST
- In the event an athlete sustains a concussion, the athlete is tested again post-injury. Post-injury testing composite scores are then compared to the baseline scores. Therefore, baseline testing only becomes of value if, and when, post-testing is utilized after a concussion injury. Estimates as high as 10% of athletes on average (~15%-20% of football players) in collision and contact sports will risk concussion injury necessitating post-injury testing.
- Post-Injury Testing is conducted by medical or appropriate health care professionals having specialized training and credentialing by ImPACT (Credentialed ImPACT Consultant) to interpret and evaluate post-testing composite scores for abnormalities. These trained professionals will objectively base concussion management decisions and the the decision for return to play on post-test comparisons. Hence, more consistent, objective, and safer decisions can then be made about an injured athlete returning to play.
- Post-Injury Testing is usually conducted once a concussed athlete is symptom-free (asymptomatic), or as early as 24-72 hours post-injury, depending on the clinician managing the athlete’s condition. On occasion, multiple post-tests (serial testing) may be conducted to monitor an athlete’s recovery over time.
Important guidelines to follow to make sure your ImPACT results are as accurate as possible:
- Follow the test instructions carefully. Missing key instructions or not giving the test your full attention will affect your results-ultimately affecting the length of time it takes to get you back to competition in the event of an injury.
- If you have questions at any point during the evaluation or are unsure as to what to do, ask the examiner for assistance.
- Be honest and put in your best effort. Insufficient effort will be detected and may affect how soon you can return-to-play. This is a hard test. No one gets everything right, so don’t get frustrated.
- If you have any questions or comments, please contact Dr. Thomas Burnett, M.D. at (724) 941-0707.