For three years Charlotte Public Schools has partnered with Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital and AL!VE to provide Charlotte student athletes with a baseline ImPACT concussion test. ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) are given fee to students involved with contact sports including football, volleyball, soccer, competitive cheer, basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball.
The individualized baseline scores are used to compare brain function should an athlete sustain a concussion or traumatic brain injury. ImPACT is the gold standard used to assess if the brain has fully recovered from an injury, and helps evaluate an athlete’s cognitive status by comparing the baseline test to a post-concussion test.
Derek Sanders, HGB athletic trainer, and Jacob Brown, HGB physical therapist are certified as ImPACT specialists.
Sanders explained how the ImPACT program works: An athlete who suffers a head injury and displays concussion symptoms is evaluated by the athletic trainer and removed from competitive play. A post-concussion ImPACT test, which is covered by most insurance plans, is administered at AL!VE within 72 hours of the injury. The post-test is the same as the initial baseline test and takes 30 to 40 minutes. The athlete’s family can choose to send results to their primary care physician or one of HGB’s ImPACT-credentialed physicians.
“ImPACT is a tremendous tool to aid health care providers in determining when an athlete is ready to return to competition or even back to class,” Sanders said. “ImPACT removes the guesswork that goes along with the treatment of a concussion and the provider doesn’t have to rely solely on the athlete since they will often downplay or sometimes even lie about symptoms.”
“Since starting the ImPACT program, 387 athletes have had baseline testing, and 86 post-concussion tests have been administered,” Brown said. “We have had very positive feedback from parents and coaches on the care and depth of this program.”
Because ImPACT baseline tests are relevant for two years, AL!VE is in the process of retesting some of the high school student athletes, in addition to testing incoming 7th graders who plan to play basketball, volleyball or wrestle in middle school.
Consent forms, times of testing, and other information can be found on the Charlotte Public School website under “Quick Links” at www.charlottenet.org/athletics.html. Questions about whether an athlete needs to retake their baseline test can be directed to the CHS Athletic Department at 517-541-5160.
For more information about the ImPACT program, please contact: EMPOWER at AL!VE at 541-5800, ext. 2.