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Posted Date: 8/14/2015

McLaren Macomb “ImPACT”s Concussion Prevention

sports concussion

McLaren Macomb’s Athletic Medicine Institute started using the concussion evaluation program ImPACT, as they work to prevent and treat concussions by administering baseline concussion screenings to contact-sport athletes.

An estimated 5 million concussions occur annually and affects athletes on all levels of play, but according to The Concussion Place, individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 are at the greatest risk for concussions. From a genetic standpoint female athletes are more prone to concussions than males.

ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT provides doctors and physicians with assessment tools and services that are used as part of determining safe return to play decisions.

“This is used as a comparison technique,” said Jeannine Hurst, coordinator, Athletic Medicine Institute at McLaren Macomb. “We run the test at the beginning of the sports season, and then if an athlete suffers a head injury we run the test again and compare scores.”

The ImPACT test is online, takes about 30 minutes to complete and it must be administered by an ImPACT-trained physician or coach. The test consists of six categories which include attention span, working memory, sustained and selective attention time, response variability, non-verbal problem solving, and reaction time. The test is administered before the sports season, then if a head injury occurs the athlete takes the test again. Physicians then have a comparison of scores before and after the head injury.

Although athletes still need to be evaluated and cleared by a physician before they can return to play, the test can be used as a starting point to determine what further tests need to be done and how serious the concussion may be.

“Although this is not required for any athlete, I would personally recommend it for anyone who plays a contact sport,” Hurst said. “It has definitely been a helpful tool in our department for helping to assess .”

For more information on ImPACT and baseline concussion screenings or to schedule an appointment, please visit the Athletic Medicine Institute page.

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