ImPACT Concussion Management

Stratford Public Schools

Concussion Management Program

Concussions in athletics are a major concern of athletics administrators, coaches and athletic trainers today. In recent years, there has been an increased amount of media coverage surrounding concussions, the subsequent recovery time, and return to play decisions. The State of Connecticut passed legislation in July 2010 mandating that high school athletes be removed from practices or games when the coach or trainer observes any or all signs of a concussion from the athlete and that all high school coaches be trained and certified in concussion recognition and management.

A concussion can occur following either a blow to the head or as a result of violent shaking of the head. This can occur when athletes collide or when an athlete’s head hits the floor or ground. All athletes, regardless of gender, age, or experience level, are at risk for concussions when practicing or playing a sport. Concussions can cause long term negative effects such as mental impairment, depression and memory loss when not properly treated.

To minimize the risk of long term or even permanent injury due to a concussion, Bunnell High School and Stratford High School continue to take a proactive approach to the management of concussions. BHS and SHS will continue to utilize ImPACT (Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) testing during the 2011-2012 school year. ImPACT is a web based program that evaluates and documents multiple aspects of neuro-cognitive functioning which includes verbal and visual memory, attention span, brain processing speed, attention time, and post-concussive symptons. The ImPACT Test, through a series of questions, will allow athletic trainers and medical professionals to see how each athlete’s brain functions under normal conditions without an injury present, commonly referred to as a baseline. If a concussion occurs, the athlete can then be re-tested and the data compared to the baseline test. This procedure will afford medical personnel the opportunity to better gauge when it is safe for the athlete to return to practice/competition, essentially reducing or eliminating the likelihood of any long term or lasting effects from the concussion. Also, this provides objective and quantitative information about the severity of the injury, which can be used in addition to the symptoms that athletes self report.

Baseline testing will take place at the beginning of each sport season. The following sports will be included in the program based on the level of contact and risk of injury: football, cheerleading, boy’s and girl’s soccer, wrestling, boy’s and girl’s basketball, baseball, softball, and boy’s and girl’s lacrosse. In addition, pole vaulters in track will be tested. Also, any parent of a child in any sport not scheduled to be tested may request that their child be ImPACT tested.

There will be additional information provided at the pre-season meetings for parents and athletes regarding the ImPACT program.

Student-athletes are required to return a signed permission form from a parent or legal guardian in order to be tested. The testing is not mandatory and no child will be excluded from playing a sport if the parent or legal guardian declines participation in the ImPACT program. Permission forms will be distributed at the beginning of practices, and testing dates will be announced throughout the year.