An Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test is a computer based neurocognitive assessment tool used to determine, in conjunction with a full clinical exam, when an athlete sustains a concussion, and when they are safe to return to full activity. It is empirical data to show when an athlete is fully recovered from their injury and recommended annually.
An ImPACT test is not a stand alone pass/ fail process. It is a tool in the treatment and management of concussions.
When Would I Need ImPACT Testing?
Initially, all athletes will have a baseline test before the sports season begins.The baseline test is an essential part of the ImPACT test as it allows concussion and sports medicine experts to understand that athlete’s normal cognitive function. Any athlete over the age of twelve should have a baseline ImPACT test conducted once a year. This is especially true for athletes in high-impact sports, such as:
Ski and snowboard
In the event of a head injury, subsequent test(s) will be administered at a regular interval, and compared to the original data.
Benefits of ImPACT Testing
ImPACT testing provides data that helps your healthcare team determine the extent of a brain injury and severity of the concussion. The test also allows trained medical professionals and concussion experts to make recommendations about an athlete’s sports participation after a head injury. This program reduces the likelihood of a secondary brain injury — also known as Second Impact Syndrome — which can lead to serious or permanent brain injury.
Everyone at VSPT are always awesome. I’ve never had to wait more than a few minutes and they have been very accommodating in getting my kiddo in. Melissa has been absolutely amazing. Great experience with ImPACT test and follow up. I would highly recommend VSPT to anyone.
How an ImPACT Test Works
A standard ImPACT test takes around 20-30 minutes to perform. During your evaluation, your therapist or athletic trainer will use a computer-based program to measure different aspects of cognitive function. This includes:
Nonverbal problem solving
A post-injury ImPACT test should be administered within 72 hours of a concussion. After the initial evaluation, additional tests can be readministered every few days to document improvement of cognitive function. ImPACT tests are repeated until the athlete’s cognitive function returns to normal and they are cleared by their healthcare team.
Getting You Back Out There
ImPACT testing is an important tool to help athletes recover from and measure the severity of a head injury or concussion. If you or an athlete you support needs an ImPACT baseline test or has since had a head injury, contact the team at Vail-Summit Physical Therapy today. We’ll take the time to determine the extent of the injury and design a treatment plan that gets you back to the activities you love safely.