Student-Athletes Get ImPACT Concussion Management Plan

By Purnell T. Cropper | October 1, 2010

By Rachel Glass ’08

Arcadia student-athletes now have the benefit of a personalized concussion-management plan, known as ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). ImPACT is the first widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. It consists of a 30-minute online test that serves as a standard tool in comprehensive clinical management of concussions for athletes of all ages.

“This type of concussion assessment can help to objectively evaluate the concussed athlete’s post-injury condition and track recovery for safe return to play, thus preventing the cumulative effects of concussion,” says Arcadia University’s Head Athletic Trainer Meghan Sarao.

The program measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including attention span, working memory, reaction time, response variability, problem solving (non-verbal), and attention time. There are five sections of the test, including Demographic Information and Health History Questionnaire, Current Symptoms and Conditions, Neuropsychological Tests, Injury Description, and ImPACT Test Scores.

Sarao and Assistant Athletic Trainer Zach Olds began implementing ImPACT this fall.  “We work with each team to educate them on our concussion-management plan and oversee each student-athlete as they complete the testing,” says Olds.  “The testing itself takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, and should a student-athlete suffer a head injury at any time during their collegiate career here at Arcadia, the data from their original baseline test will be compared to the post-injury test to help both Meghan and myself determine when the student-athlete has fully recovered from the injury and when it is safe to return to play.”

According to both Sarao and Olds, “because decisions regarding returning athletes to play following a concussion are among the most difficult for athletic trainers to make, this information can be tremendously valuable to us in our decision making regarding head injury assessment.” Sarao and Olds are confident that the bottom line will be peace of mind for everyone, including student-athletes, athletic trainers, coaches, parents, and administrators.

About the author: Rachel Glass ’08 served as the 2010 Summer Sports Information Intern and is a former volleyball player.