Beth Larson, the coordinator of the concussion program, gives all student athletes at HSU an Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, called an ImPACT test, during the pre-season. The 20-minute, computerized test is a standard and effective tool in sports from the middle school to professional levels. It is used to evaluate thinking and reasoning skills, including attention span, reaction time and memory.
This baseline data is used to determine how an athlete functions normally and is used for comparison if a concussion is suspected during the season. Students, faculty, staff and community members are also invited to take the neurocognitive test to provide additional “normal,” or non-concussed data.
After a head injury, an athlete is referred to the concussion program by his or her trainers for a follow-up evaluation. The ImPACT test is administered again, and the results are compared to the baseline to see if and how the student is affected.
For more on Beth's research, check out her work with soccer related concussions.