What is ImPact Testing?
ImPact testing is a software program used by the EPSD Athletic Training Staff to help determine if your son/daughter has suffered a head injury and when it is safe for him/her to return to sports participation. ImPACT is a 20-40 minute, computerized test that assesses short and long-term memory, reaction time, mental processing speed, etc. Athletes are required to complete the first test while uninjured to establish a normal, healthy baseline evaluation of mental function. If your son/daughter is suspected of suffering a head injury during the sports season, a post injury test will be done within the first 24-72 hours and the scores of the two tests will be compared to look for deficits in memory, reaction time, processing speed, etc.
Why is ImPact Testing So Important?
Head injuries are very serious and research has shown that athletes tend to hide signs and symptoms of a head injury because they do not want to be removed from athletic competition. The problem with hiding a head injury is a condition called SECOND IMPACT SYNDROME. SECOND IMPACT SYNDROME occurs when an athlete receives a second blow to the head before the initial injury is totally resolved. A second blow has very serious consequences such as permanent brain damage or death. If that isn’t scary enough, the force required to cause SECOND IMPACT SYNDROME is minimal. Research also shows that as a person recovers from a head injury, he/she may physically feel fine long before the brain injury has resolved or mental function has returned to normal. Consequently, using physical symptoms isn’t enough to determine is an athlete is safe to return to sports. ImPACT testing gives athletic trainers and physicians an objective tool to evaluate mental function and acuity in determining a safe return to sports. The EPSD takes head injuries very seriously and uses every method available to ensure our athletes are competing under the safest conditions possible.
What is The EPSD ImPact Testing Policy?
All EPSD student-athletes are REQUIRED to take the ImPACT Test! Baseline tests will ALWAYS be administered in a proctored setting to reduce the incidence of an invalid test. Mass baseline testing will occur prior to the start of each sport season. Student-athletes are required to take a new baseline test every two (2) years. All rising 7th, 9th and 11th graders as well as those student-athletes who have not taken one within two (2) years, will be required to take the ImPACT Test prior to the start of competition.