ImPACT Head Injury Management

Impact-concussion ImPACT is a research-based computer test to help clinicians evaluate an athlete’s recovery following a head injury. It is a 20-minute test that has been proven to measure the effects of sports related concussion.

In the preseason, each athlete is given a baseline test. When a head injury is suspected during the season, a follow-up test is done to see if the results have changed from the baseline. The comparison helps to diagnose and manage the injury. Follow-up tests can be administered over days or weeks so clinicians can continue to track the athlete’s recovery.

Why use ImPACT?

While traditional neurological and radiological procedures such as CT and MRI are helpful in identifying serious brain injuries (e.g., skull fractures, hematomas), they are ineffective at identifying the functional effects of concussion. Consequently, clinicians must often rely on subjective observations or patient self-reports to diagnose and track a concussion. This is where ImPACT can help.

ImPACT can help answer difficult questions about an athlete’s readiness to return to play, protecting them from the potentially serious consequences of returning too soon.

If baseline data are unavailable, ImPACT has a normative database of thousands of non-injured athletes, which can be used for effective evaluations and comparisons.

AthletiCare Concussion Protocol

Step 1: Pre-season Baseline Testing with ImPACT

Step 2: Sideline Evaluation
Upon injury the athletic trainer will screen the athlete for a head injury and remove them from competition if needed.

Step 3: Post-Concussion Testing with ImPACT
  • All athletes suspected to have a head injury will be evaluated by a physician.
  • A post-concussion test will be administered to track the athlete’s recovery.
  • The athlete and guardian(s) will receive educational information about concussion and head injury management.
Step 4: Return-to-Play Decision Support
  • ImPACT scores in conjunction with a physician evaluation will determine return-to-play decision.
  • ImPACT scores and physiological symptoms must return to normal in order to begin the return to play protocol.
Insurance is billed for the administration and reading of this test. Any charges not covered by insurance are the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

Call (217) 744-PLAY (7529) to learn more.