Head injuries have become increasingly common in youth and high school sports today. High profile cases and recently published research have demonstrated the potentially serious complications that can occur after these injuries, often with long-standing or permanent result. The diagnosis and management of concussions, therefore, remains difficult since so many of the findings, post-concussion, are subjective and difficult for clinicians to quantify.
In an effort to reduce the risk to our patients, the Center for Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is introducing ImPACT testing, a computerized concussion evaluation system that is designed to better assess the severity of head injuries. It was developed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and has gained notoriety nationally. Several professional sports, including teams in the NFL, and an increasing number of major universities utilize the test to protect their student-athletes. Information derived from the test can help better identify and treat concussions after they occur. Dr.Penney is currently the only Credentialed ImPACT Consultant in Northwest Connecticut.
The test usually takes 25-35 minutes to complete and is administered on a computer in the office. It examines routine neurocognitive abilities of the brain such as memory, reaction time, image recognition/differentiation and spatial abilities. Both boys and girls are eligible, but 11 years old is the youngest you can be to take the test, due to limitations in brain development prior to this age.
Baseline testing is performed in our office prior to your child participating in a contact/collision sport. The cost of the test is $25 and, unfortunately, is not covered by insurance. These baseline test results are kept on file. In the event of a head injury, the ImPACT test is again performed, along with a thorough neurologic examination, and the post injury results are compared to the baseline results. This crucial information will aid Dr. Penney in determining the extent of an injury, the duration of treatment and can also assist in return- to- play decisions. Post-injury testing is covered by most commercial insurance companies.
The Center for Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, in conjunction with the Sports Medicine and Athletic Training program at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, has already implemented ImPACT testing in many of the local high schools. These schools currently include: The Gilbert School, Northwest Region 7 High School and Torrington High School. All student-athletes from these schools will have their baseline tests done this year, with subsequent baseline tests repeated at two year intervals.
Please contact our office with any questions regarding ImPACT testing or to set up an appointment for a baseline or post-injury test. We are happy to speak with coaches or athletic directors from schools we currently do not cover, since group testing can be arranged for interested schools or individual teams.
PLAY HARD. PLAY SAFE.