“A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury — or TBI — caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Every year, dozens of area middle school, high school and college athletes suffer this type of injury. Not all concussions show the classic symptoms of confusion, loss of balance or unconsciousness. Even when it’s mild, a concussion can be a real brain injury that requires medical attention to prevent further problems.
ImPACT is a computer-based testing program designed to manage sports-related concussions. The athlete’s health history, symptoms and neuropsychological data are recorded before and following a head injury. The athlete takes a 25-minute baseline test then, should a head injury occur, Mercyhealth’s doctors can compare pre-injury and post-injury test results to decide when it’s safe to return to play.