Test helps determine when athlete should
return to play after concussion diagnosed
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
All athletes involved in winter sports at Chase County Schools have been through a new testing program that will help doctors and school officials determine a safe return to competition after a diagnosed concussion.
CCS Activities Director Marc Mroczek said the school was contacted by Dr. Doug Nicholson from Chase County Community Hospital/Clinic about the ImPACT program.
ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing.
Mroczek said all athletes, in all three sports seasons at the school, will take the test initially to provide a baseline.
Then, should an athlete suffer a concussion, a follow-up using the test will determine if he/she is okay to return to action, he said.
The test, which takes about 20 minutes, is all done on computer. It measures word memory, design memory, reaction time, shape recognition and speed.
The test evaluates the athlete’s post-injury condition and tracks recovery for a safe return to play, thus preventing the cumulative effects of a concussion.
Basically, Mroczek said, when the concussed athlete “passes” the test, he or she will be able to return to competition. Physicians will be the ones to read the tests to make that determination, Mroczek said.
This year, there were at least two fall sport athletes at CCS with diagnosed concussions, Mroczek said.
Concussions, from the high school level all the way up to the professional level, are becoming more and more of a concern because of the traumatic effects that can result down the road.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., ImPACT Applications, Inc., is the provider of the computerized neurocognitive assessment tools and services being used at CCS.
At the current time, ImPACT is being used for concussion management services at more than 1,000 high schools, colleges, sports medicine centers and by professional teams throughout the world.
In Nebraska, Chase County Schools is one of 23 schools listed as a “client” of the program. Ogallala and Southwest High Schools are also using the program.
Mroczek said he made it a requirement that none of the CCS winter athletes could start practice this week if they hadn’t taken the baseline ImPACT test.
He said all of them had it completed by last Friday.
He’ll do the same for the spring athletes who were not out for winter sports.