Health Check: ImPACT Concussion Program

It's estimated 10-percent of all athletes in a contact sport will get a concussion. Unfortunately, once an athlete gets one, they are four to six times more likely to receive another. In this month's Health Check report, Serese Cole shows us how the Fremont Area Medical Center is using an innovative program to reduce an injured student's risk for further injury.

With high school sports - often come hard hits.

Northbend High School Senior Eddie Ruskamp said, "I went up for rebound and got undercut and I guess my head slammed on the floor and recoiled twice."

"To see him fall like that, hear him hit his head and just lay there - not get up - it was just scary, " added his mother, Tami.

Dr. Brett Fischer, Manager of FAMC Sports Medicine says the impact of a concussion shocks the brain causing it to stop working properly.

"If a secondary concussion occurs while an athlete is recovering from the first, there can be extremely serious or even fatal injuries at that time, " said Fischer.

A program adopted by the Fremont Area Medical Center called, Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing - or ImPact - aims to keep that from happening.

Manager of FAMC Sports Medicine Mark Voss, "IMPACT' is a Neurocognitive test -that tests different parts of the brain."

Serese Cole, "The test itself takes about 20 minutes to complete, student athletes are asked a variety of questions ranging from shape to word recognition." It also tests memory and reaction time.

Voss, " Now, if a student does suffer a concussion when we do the post, test - we can see how bad that concussion was - how much it did affect them."

Most importantly, injured athletes are not allowed to return to play until they meet their baseline score...keeping young athletes from a taking another blow that could leave them sidelined for life.

This is the first year the Fremont Area Medical Center has been involved with the ImPACT concussion program. All the tests are given and monitored by trained personnel and they are free for students in the Fremont-area. So far, more than 500 students , involved in fall sports, have been tested.

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