Concussions & ImPACT Test





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Published on Aug 29, 2009

This is a feature story by ESPN Outside the Lines on the epidemic of concussions in teenage sports and the result of untreated concussions

In 2008, 5 high school football players died during games or practices from getting a concussion on top of a concussion - a condition know as Second Impact Syndrome. A recent study by nationwide children's hospital in Ohio that found an alarming 41 percent of high school athletes with concussion returned to play too soon. And while football has by far the highest rate of concussions compared to any other sport: hockey, wrestling gymnastics, lacrosse, volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, baseball, softball and soccer all have their fair share. Concussions happen when the brain is shaken inside the skull. And even though they're common in sports many coaches and trainers still don't know how to manage them. That's partially because there is no one-size-fits-all guideline for what to do when a player gets one. Some athletes will heal in a couple days and some in a couple months. Researchers are just beginning to unlock the reasons why.

We know that for any parent or grandparent with children in sports, a report like this one tonight can be quite sobering. It's important to note we are not suggesting that boys and girls avoid sports. The life lessons learned from taking the field, court or ice are invaluable. Our message is simply that concussions and hits to the head generally, need to be taken very seriously, and dealt with right away... The attitude can't be--just get back in the game.

The ImPACT test is now used by almost every professional hockey and football team in the U.S. We encourage every high school to use the test too. Because while there are 18,000 professional athletes in the U.S., there are 7 and a half million high school athletes.

The ImPACT test, a concussion evaluation tool involves all athletes in sports programs taking this test at the beginning of the season before any injuries happen, so that each athlete has an established baseline performance on the test. When a concussion occurs, the impact test is given again to see how severely a concussion is affecting an athlete's brain functions.

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