MINNEAPOLIS -- There's a growing concern about concussions in high school athletes and the long term effects they may have.
Now there's a test that can help assess a concussion so that treatment can be tailored and an athlete can fully recover before returning to play.
It's called the ImPACT assessment. It's offered through North Memorial.
Athletes like Coon Rapids soccer player Robin Lindemann, and even entire teams like Osseo High School football, take the ImPACT test before the season begins. It is then taken again if a player gets a concussion.
Lindemann said, "I had a concussion and I think it was like two years ago. But they didn't know how bad it was because they had nothing to go off of."
Jason Cardosi, a speech language pathologist with North Memorial said, "The ImPACT test itself, it's a cognitive measure that looks at cognitive areas that measure processing speed and reaction time."
He said it gives a baseline assessment of an athlete's cognitive function before a concussion, in areas like memory, attention, brain processing speed and reaction time, so if she or he should ever suffer one, a second impact test can be taken and compared.
Cardosi says the ImPACT test is important because everyone responds differently to concussions and treatments must be tailored. Those not allowed to fully recover are at greater risk for lifelong cognitive difficulties or even death. The ImPACT test helps monitor progress during recovery.
Cardosi said about 200 athletes this year have been assessed after a concussion and a, "Majority of the kids that we see end up getting back to baseline, back to normal."
Even if you haven't had a baseline assessment with the ImPACT software, Cardosi said a post-concussion assessment can still be helpful. He said, "One of the features of the ImPACT test is that it has a normative sample. So if we don't have an individual's baseline information we can still use this as a tool to look at their cognitive recovery."
Lindemann took the pre-test and while a little challenging, she said, "I think I did pretty well."
Lindemann just hopes a concussion doesn't bring her back to repeat it.
The ImPACT tests costs just five dollars and will be saved for one year in North Memorial's data base.
Its recommended that adolescents get tested yearly because of their cognitive development.
For more information on teh ImPACT assessment and North memorial's Concussion Management Program call Jason Cardosi at (763) 520-7374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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