The ImPACT of Concussions

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The fall sports season is upon us. Millions of kids will participate in a school or recreational sport this season. There are countless benefits to that participation, and topping the list is keeping your child healthy and active. As with any activity there is always risk of injury. In recent years there has been a substantial and necessary increase in the awareness and prevention of one of the most common injuries; concussions.

We have made huge strides with equipment and rules that help make sports safer and reduce the chances of a concussion, but even with those changes an estimated 4 to 5 million concussions occur annually. The first thing to understand is that a concussion is serious. It is considered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). Concussions can cause serious symptoms that may show up immediately or days or weeks after the injury. The signs can be subtle, and the recovery is different for each individual. Often times, kids want to return to play and it can be too soon.

So what’s the problem with playing too soon after a concussion?

After sustaining a concussion your brain needs time to repair. The cells require extra nutrients and energy to do this. When these are deficient of what they need to run normally, and you get hit again, that’s when the trouble can really start. Although rare, if someone does play through a concussion and sustains another blow to the head, they are at risk for a serious brain injury or even brain swelling.

What can you do to help your child stay safe?

Mid America Rehab, in partnership with our local hospitals, utilizes a program known as ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). This is FREE for athletes of all ages. ImPACT can help determine the severity following a concussion and with the partnership of your child’s physician, can help determine when it is safe to return to regular activity.

What is ImPACT?

ImPACT is an objective tool to support trained healthcare providers in making sound return to activity decisions following concussions. It is a computerized test that measures memory, attention span, visual and verbal problem solving.

ImPACT has two primary uses: before the onset of an activity, a baseline test is conducted to measure the athlete’s performance baseline. In the event of an injury, a post-injury test is administered and compared to the baseline and/or normative data scores.

Why use ImPACT?

Neurocognitive testing is the “cornerstone” of modern concussion management. It gives healthcare providers objective data to evaluate a patient’s post-injury condition and aids in tracking recovery for safe return to activity.

ImPACT is the most scientifically validated computerized neurocognitive test used by thousands of high schools, colleges and universities, and select military units to help evaluate and manage suspected concussions. Since 2002, ImPACT has served tens of millions of individual test takers.

If you would like to learn more about ImPACT concussion testing, contact our Perryville clinic at 573-768-33499 or our Ste. Genevieve clinic at 573-883-9366. For information on sports or physical therapy for you or your athlete contact the clinic nearest you!