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Assessing the “ImPACT” of the Most Common Traumatic Brain Injury

During Brain Injury Awareness Month, Bayhealth reminds athletes of the importance of wearing protective head gear and using ImPACT testing to measure cognitive function pre and post injury.
March 20, 2017

Assessing the “ImPACT” of the most common traumatic brain injury

Did you know that concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury (TBI)? While concussions are typically considered to be “mild” on the severity scale for TBIs, they can still have an impact on cognitive function, emotional well-being, physical ability, and overall quality of life.

That’s why it is critical to take steps to prevent concussions, such as wearing protective gear when engaging in contact sports like lacrosse and football and adopting lifestyle habits that will lessen the likelihood of bumping your head or experiencing a fall. It is equally important and helpful to use tools that are designed to assess the effects of a concussion.

One such tool is Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT™), which measures various aspects of cognitive function in athletes, including attention span, working memory, sustained and selective attention time, nonverbal problem solving, and reaction time. ImPACT is suitable for athletes ages 10 and older. It is the most widely employed computer program in the world and across all levels of sports: high school, collegiate, and professional.

As part of our vision to deliver the nation’s best healthcare to our communities here at home, Bayhealth has provided ImPACT testing to local high schools and the greater community since 2011. The foundation of ImPACT is preseason or baseline testing during which an athlete completes a 20-minute computer-based questionnaire. The data is stored and in the event of a TBI compared with post-injury test results in the evaluation process. Used in conjunction with a clinical exam, the information helps healthcare providers give an objective evaluation to determine if and when it is safe for an athlete to return to play.

“We have administered approximately 7,000 tests since we started using ImPACT,” said Bayhealth Physical Therapist Angela R. Mollohan, PT, MPT, who conducts ImPACT testing. “The information gained through ImPACT testing can assist the multidisciplinary healthcare team with properly treating the patient and help make ‘safe-to-return-to-activity’ decisions.”

Bayhealth offers ImPACT through its Wellness Centers located in several area high schools and at its Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at 560 S. Governors Ave., Dover.

“Although prevention is always best, concussions are treatable and recovery doesn’t have to be lengthy,” explained Mollohan. “Our staff of physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists can treat the vestibular and orthopaedic disorders; vision deficits; cognitive processing and communication disorders; and facilitate the patient’s return to activity.”

Call 302-744-7095 to learn more about Bayhealth’s ImPACT testing program. Visit bayhealth.org/neurosciences for more information about our Neurosciences department.

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