The Raymore-Peculiar School District is implementing the ImPACT concussion testing program to assess an athlete's ability to return to play after suffering a concussion.
A concussion is a type of brain injury that occurs after a blow to the head or the result of violent shaking of the head.Information about the new program was shared at the June 28 Board of Education meeting as part of Activities Director Tom Kruse's annual report on activities and athletics.
Ray-Pec Athletic Trainer Dan Schwarz and Dr. Samuel Brewster, a local physician who serves as a team doctor for Ray-Pec, explained more about the ImPACT program during the meeting.
Here's how the program works:• Before the athletic season begins, student athletes will complete a computerized test that will be the baseline neurocognitive assessment. The exam is in the form of a "video game" that tracks memory, reaction time, speed and concentration. • Within 72 hours of suffering a head injury, the student athlete will take the exam again. A trained healthcare professional can interpret the results to help evaluate an athlete's condition and recovery for safe return to play. • After all symptoms are clear, the athlete will take another follow-up test.
This type of neurocognitive testing is gaining attention as a "best practice" in concussion management.
Some details at Ray-Pec:• The program begins this year for student athletes in grades 9-12. (In the future, it may be expanded to include middle school students.) • The baseline test takes about 30 minutes, and Kruse said that up to 30 students could be tested at a time. • Nearly 600 students will be tested. • Coaches will begin receiving training in July about concussion management. • In the event of a head injury, the baseline test result can be used by the medical professional of the parents' choice to assess whether or not a concussion has occurred and to make treatment decisions. • Athletic Trainer Dan Schwarz will administer the baseline tests. • Dr. Brewster and Dan Schwarz will evaluate test results and help to determine an athlete's return to play. • Cass Regional Medical Center is funding the cost of the testing. More information about the ImPACT testing is available at: www.impacttest.com.
Concussion management has become big news nationwide in all levels of sports, from youth to professional. In May, the Missouri State legislature passed the "Interscholastic Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act." This new law says that if an athlete is suspected of having a concussion during practice or play, the athlete must be sidelined immediately and now allowed back on the field for 24 hours. A healthcare provider trained in handling concussions must evaluate the player and provide written clearance before the athlete can return to play.
The act also requires mandatory education of coaches, athletes and their parents about the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
Schwarz said that Ray-Pec has already had these practices in place before this new legislation. He noted that the addition of the ImPACT testing takes the school district beyond the requirements of the law and provides a new level of safety for students.