Concussion management using ImPACT® computerized neurocognitive testing
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Concussions can result from playing any sport, but happen more often from engaging in contact sports like football, soccer, or lacrosse. There is also the risk of concussion from other activities, such as riding a bike or skateboarding. Basically any time an individual suffers a blow to the head, a concussion could develop. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. Concussions sometimes are very difficult to diagnose and symptoms may not appear immediately. Children, teens, and athletes of any age or level may be reluctant to admit or address the possibility of a concussion, either because the effects are so subtle or because they may want to return to their normal activities as soon as possible.
Our clinic provides ImPact testing for ages 5 and up. ImPACT is the most widely used computerized neurocognitive test to help evaluate and manage concussions. It is a sophisticated, research-based computer test developed to help clinicians evaluate a patient’s recovery following concussion.
Signs of Concussion:
- Thinking (cognitive) Confusion/memory loss
- Trouble concentrating
- Slow verbal responses
- Mood changes
- Sleep Tiredness
- Trouble sleeping
- Physical Headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision or light sensitivity
- Noise sensitivity
How long does the test take and what does it evaluate?
Testing takes approximately 20 minutes and assesses cognitive functioning, including:
- Attention span
- Working memory
- Sustained and selective attention time
- Response variability
- Non-verbal problem solving
- Reaction time
How do I get my child tested?
ImPACT® testing is offered at our office.
- Please call 281-310-5955 to schedule your child’s pre-test.
- If your child has a suspected concussion, please schedule an appointment with us for evaluation and to administer your child’s post-test.
What can athlete/parents do to aid recovery?
- Limit physical and mental activity (e.g., homework, TV/computer use, video games and texting)
- Supervise your child during waking hours (sleep is an important component of healing)
- Reduce activities that increase symptoms (e.g., listening to loud music)
- Drink plenty of fluids (dehydration can exacerbate headaches)
- Report any worsening of concussion symptoms or changes in behavior to your pediatrician.
How long does recovery take?
Recovery time varies based on individual healing rate, the severity of the concussion, and past history of concussions. All sports activity should be suspended until symptoms have completely resolved and the athlete has received clearance to resume activity from his or her pediatrician.
How do I prevent concussions?
Follow these suggestions to stay in the game:
- Wear a helmet whenever possible, especially when playing contact sports
- Utilize safe playing techniques
- Follow game rules
- Let an adult know if you experience ANY head injury