You might have heard about the necessity to get your child ImPACT tested prior to the start of their sport season. So what is this test and what is its purpose? ImPACT testing is a neurocognitive test that helps to determine if an Athlete is ready to return to their sport after they have suffered a concussion
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury in which there is a short term disruption of neurological function that can cause a variety of symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, headaches, memory deficits, balance impairments and nausea to name a few. Concussions are considered a “functional” brain injury vs a “pathological” one. This means that it does actually affect the brain but the injury is usually more temporary. However, rest is required both mentally and physically for the brain to heal.
How do we measure if the brain is healed? The international conference on concussion has established 6 Domains affected by Concussion: Vestibular, Ocular, Cognitive, Cervical, Emotional and Physical/Exertion. Some of these domains are easy for us to measure with different tests, eye movements, neck movements, and exercise. The cognitive component can be a little harder to objectify. This is where ImPACT testing comes in. ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. The ImPACT test is a series of computer based cognitive skills such as visual processing, attention, memory, and reaction time. By having your child take a baseline ImPACT test while they are healthy and non concussed, we can then compare their baseline scores to their scores when they take the ImPACT test when they have a suspected concussion. We can then assess how their current cognitive function is compared to their baseline or non injured function. We can also compare their cognitive function to normative data from their age group.
Why is it so important we do not return to sport too soon? Sometimes a child may feel symptom free after they have had a concussion, but symptoms arise when they go back to full game play. If the brain is not fully healed they may not perform at their best level which puts them at risk for any type of injury or worse another Concussion. An additional concussion can cause Second Impact Syndrome which is when a second concussion occurs before a first one has fully healed. This can cause rapid swelling in the brain and more permanent and disabling injury. ImPACT testing is considered part of the standard for assessing ability to return to play and sport safely without risk of further brain injury.Don’t delay, get tested today!
Schedule your child to get their baseline ImPACT test as soon as possible. Call now! 609-714-3378