Cognitive concussion management tests administered
Athletic trainer Woody Goffinett, left, directs Indian Lake High School student Nick Crockett through an ImPACT concussion test Tuesday. The test is designed to offer baseline cognitive results for reference in the event of a head injury. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)
Indian Lake is the latest high school to make available to its student-athletes baseline cognitive testing for the purpose of comparison in the event of a suspected concussion.
Tuesday, members of the girls and boys soccer teams and football team clicked through what amounts to a memory test designed to establish a cognitive baseline for comparison in case an athlete sustains a head injury.
“This test won’t be the final piece in determining whether an athlete is ready to return from a head injury,” Indian Lake Athletic Director Jeff Courter said. “But it’s one more piece we have to use to decide if an athlete is fit to play.”
Like the athletic trainer that will be available to Indian Lake sports teams this year, the ImPACT tests were supplied and paid for by Wilson Memorial Hospital, which through its sports medicine department makes athletic trainers and rehabilitation resources available at no cost to the schools.
Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing began in 1997 as a paper and pencil test administered to professional football players, according to Woody Goffinett, a Wilson Memorial Hospital athletic trainer working in Indian Lake Schools.
It was founded by Mark Lovell, Ph.D; Joseph Maroon, M.D.; and Micky Collins, Ph.D in Pittsburgh.
Today, it’s used by professional sports teams, colleges and universities, medical centers and more than 7,400 high schools nationwide, according to the ImPACT Web site.
“For example, one test flashes a series of words on the screen and then asks the athlete if a particular word was part of that sequence or not,” Mr. Goffinett said.
Other parts of the exam involve identifying patterns and recalling shapes and colors.
The test may be readministered in the event of a suspected concussion, and the results can be compared to help determine whether an athlete should be cleared to play.
The ImPACT test should be taken as a baseline test every two years for as long as an athlete is involved in sports, Mr. Goffinett said.