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Concussion Baseline Studies

ImPACT Supports Safe Return to Sports

Concussions are common sports injuries that are often difficult to diagnose and treat. Concussion experts at The University of Kansas Health System use an online assessment, called ImPACT, to help them better manage concussions.

ImPACT stands for "immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing." Our specialty-trained concussion care team recommends baseline ImPACT assessments for all middle school and high school athletes. Having this preseason reference point allows clinicians to measure recovery and make comparisons post-injury.

ImPACT uses neurocognitive testing to measure attention, memory, problem-solving and reaction time prior to and following concussion. The computer-based test helps physicians evaluate concussion severity and track the athlete’s recovery. Clinicians use the information to determine when the athlete is ready to return to play.

Impacting athletes of all ages

The ImPACT testing system delivers scientific results. Middle schools, high schools, colleges and professional sporting teams use the tool to clinically manage concussions in athletes from age 10 through adult.

Concussions vary in severity and recovery time. They occur most frequently in boys playing football and baseball and in girls who participate in cheerleading and gymnastics. The Kansas State High School Activities Association follows strict guidelines on when athletes who’ve suffered concussion can return to play.

ImPACT can help with decision-making. The 20-minute test series randomly assigns problems, puzzles and tasks each time it’s given. Specifically, ImPACT measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including:

  • Attention span
  • Working memory
  • Sustained and selective attention time
  • Response variability
  • Non-verbal problem solving
  • Reaction time

Dr. David Smith on the importance of Baseline Testing in Diagnosing Concussions

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