The Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT®)

The Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT®)

Pioneered by experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, ImPACT® establishes a benchmark for a patient’s normally functioning brain activities.

The ImPACT tool is effective in the comparative assessment of a patient’s neurocognitive state before a concussion actually occurs.

ImPACT Video Transcript

ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-concussion and Cognitive Testing.

It’s a 20 to 25 minute battery of tests on a computer that allows us to put the brain to work so we can actually measure the affects of injury. Remember, concussion doesn’t show up on CT scan or MRI.

ImPACT is one of the only tools we know of that can actually measure the injury and put numbers to the injury. And, it’s critical for us as clinicians to have that information to manage these cases carefully.

Baseline testing is a process where we will administer ImPACT before the season starts. So, we know where the child should be before they have a concussion.

Then, when an injury is sustained we can re-administer ImPACT. And, we can actually see the effects of the injury in terms of the patient’s ability to think. That information, research has shown, is very valuable to predict outcomes and really help us manage the case.

In terms of baseline testing, because kids are developing very rapidly, from ages six to twelve, we actually recommend baseline testing on a yearly basis. For patients 13 and older, or athletes 13 and older, we actually recommend baselining every other year.

RELATED: How the Pediatric ImPACT Test Helps Young Athletes

The research has shown we can see changes in development during those times.

It’s important to keep in mind that when an athlete’s had an injury and they’re tested on ImPACT that the clinician has to be trained in interpreting ImPACT.

There’s a lot of information in that report that only a trained clinician should be reviewing and seeing. Also, ImPACT is a tool, as part of a comprehensive evaluation, that needs to occur in order to determine safe return to play and management of the concussed athlete.