Concussion Diagnostic Tool Makes ImPACT

impact-logo-rgbHICKORY, NCAugust 17 2017 – Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) has implemented a new tool for managing concussions in area schools where it provides certified athletic trainers, taking valuable measures to help prepare staff and students for concussion management.

CVMC’s Director of Sports Medicine Marcus Osborne says, “CVMC saw a need and an opportunity to improve the care of athletes under its charge, so we are now offering ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) for all the schools we cover.”

CVMC employs certified athletic trainers at six schools and has trained them to administer the ImPACT testing, as well as interpret the data that the tests produce. These schools include Bandys, Bunker Hill, Maiden, Newton-Conover and St. Stephens high schools and Catawba Valley Community College.

Through a comprehensive online neurocognitive testing program, ImPACT measures such things as memory, immediate recall and reaction time. The ImPACT test takes about 20 minutes to complete and then, once it’s done, the athletic trainer can either print out those results or look at them electronically and compare the results side by side to aid with treatment decisions that are made by the athlete’s healthcare provider or another specialist should a head injury be identified.

Osborne adds, “As the athlete heals, they will retake the test and once their score is back to the baseline and there are no other issues, the athlete will be allowed to begin the return to play protocol.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one million children a year suffer a concussion through sports or recreational activities. Adolescents have a higher risk of concussion since the nerve cells and connections of their brains don’t have the coating and insulation that adults have. As common as this brain injury is, it’s often difficult to diagnose. CVMC has been managing concussion at its covered schools since it began working with schools in 2002.

Dr. Keith McManus, CVMC’s Sports Medicine program’s Medical Director adds, “If an athlete experiences a concussion during a sports season, our athletic trainers conduct a post-concussion ImPACT test with the student. If the athlete did a baseline test prior to the sports season, the post-concussion data is compared to the baseline data. If not, the post-concussion data is compared to normative data. This information helps physicians determine the student-athletes’ post-concussion neurocognitive status and when it is safe for the student-athlete to return to active sports and the classroom.”

For more information about CVMC’s Sports Medicine Program, contact Marcus Osborne, CVMC’s Director of Fitness Center/Sports Medicine, at 828.326.2272.

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