Concussions reaching epidemic levels
According to the Sports Concussion Institute, 10% of high school athletes suffer a concussion each season. Concussion rates have nearly doubled in the last decade and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared the millions of sports-related concussions that happen each year an epidemic.
Saint Michael’s Foundation and staff at Ministry Sport Medicine Center are raising awareness surrounding concussions through the work of ImPACT. With the financial support of the Foundation through a grant, baseline testing is offered free to those athletes attending schools covered by Ministry Sports Medicine. An estimated 1500 local high school and junior high school aged athletes could reap the positive health benefits from ImPACT if they all participated. Pictured from L-R: Dan Kraeger, DO, Angie Heuck, Foundation Director, Jodi Waltenberg, ATC and Dennis Kaster, PT accepting a donation from the foundation to fund baseline ImPACT testing.
ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a computer program used to measure aspects of brain function sensitive to concussion. It used by high schools across the nation as well as professional sports such as the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR.
Since 2009, over 127 student athletes went to Ministry Point Sports Medicine for concussion follow-up.
“Although we began using ImPACT in 2009, we have been doing cognitive testing for close to 10 years,” stated Dr. Dan Kraeger, Credentialed ImPACT Consultant and sports medicine specialist at Ministry Sport Medicine. “We are in our second year with ImPACT and this year we doubled the number of athletes that came to us for follow up care. It’s making a difference.”
The consequences of returning to play too soon and sustaining additional damage to the brain can be life-long and very debilitating. ImPACT testing can be done ahead of time and used as a comparison reference after an injury to determine if the brain is still impaired.
ImPACT testing service is also provided at Ministry Rehabilitation in Rhinelander and Tomahawk through the Sports Medicine program.
Follow-up evaluations are conducted at Ministry Medical Group in Tomahawk by Russell Sudbury, MD. Please call for an appointment at 715.453.7200.
Ministry Door County Medical Center also provides ImPACT testing service through their Sports Medicine Program. Please call Tina Koyen at 920.746.0410.
ImPACT testing is the most widely used computerized program in the world and is even used at the professional level. ImPACT testing is an assessment that tests player’s cognitive abilities after a concussion, and helps determine if an athlete is ready for play again. The test takes about 20 minutes to complete and focuses on attention span, working memory, sustained and selective attention time, response variability, non-verbal problem solving, and reaction time. It is important for athletes to get the test done to ensure proper recovery to avoid the long term effect of a concussion or from getting a second concussion. Testing should take place 24-72 hour after the injury, and then in weekly intervals until the player is asymptomatic.