Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and San Luis Sports Therapy have collaborated to bring the ImPACT Concussion Testing Program to seven San Luis Obispo County high schools starting with the 2009-10 academic year. Dr. Otto Schueckler, a sports medicine specialist with Central Coast Orthopedics, is the program’s local medical consultant.
ImPACT Concussion Testing provides a baseline “normal” test for student-athletes at the participating schools. Should an athlete sustain a head injury due to an impact that occurs during competition, physicians will then have the ability to compare the follow-up test to compare the extent of the injury. Based on that secondary test, physicians, coaches and team athletic trainers will have much more information at their disposal by which to judge a student-athlete’s ability to return to game action. Along with traditional evaluation, this additional cognitive data provides an extra level of diagnostic capability.
The participating schools include Paso Robles High School, Templeton High School, San Luis Obispo High School, Mission Prep High School, Arroyo Grande High School, Morro Bay High School and Nipomo High School. More than 2,000 student-athletes are expected to be administered a baseline test.
It is estimated that the annual incidence of sports-related concussion is 300,000. Estimates regarding the likelihood of an athlete in a contact sport experiencing a concussion may be as high as 19% per season. Suffering a second blow to the head, or Post Concussion Syndrome, can be disabling for an athlete; suffering a second blow to the head while recovering from an initial concussion can have catastrophic consequences.
“No athlete should return to sport or other at-risk participation when symptoms of concussion are present and recovery is ongoing,” Dr. Schueckler said. “The best way to prevent difficulties with concussion is to manage the injury properly when it does occur."
ImPACT Concussion Testing is currently used by 28 NFL teams, 18 Major League Baseball teams, Major League Soccer, US Lacrosse, professional hockey, Major and Minor League Umpires, USA Olympic Hockey, USA Ski Team, USA Rugby, 1200 high schools and more than 350 colleges and universities throughout the country.