MOUNT VERNON — The science of sports concussion evaluation and care has matured into a methodical, step-by-step process.
Understanding the extent of the concussion and knowing when a patient is ready to return to full-time play is now an area of much scrutiny. There are several ways that the severity of a concussion is measured — both subjectively and non-subjectively.
Recent technological advances have provided doctors and athletic trainers with ways to view the effects of head trauma on an individual. ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a computerized concussion evaluation system, which is useful in determining an individual’s cognitive response.
“It’s just another piece of the puzzle, when we are evaluating someone for concussion,” said Angie Styers, a certified athletic trainer with Mohican Sports Medicine in Mount Vernon. Mohican uses ImPACT in their patient evaluation process. “We evaluate a person’s self-reported symptoms and then we incorpoate the ImPACT program.”
The ImPACT system is a 20-minute test that has become a standard tool used in comprehensive clinical management of concussions for athletes of all ages.
“It’s kind of set up like a video game,” said Styers. “It flashes words at you. Then, you have to click the mouse as fast as you can, ‘Was this one of the words, yes or no?’ It just tests their word memory, their reaction times and how they’re processing information.”
This program directs the user to remember and recall a list of words, go through memorizing shapes and colors, perform assocation exercises and then recall the initial list of words.