ImPACT Testing & Concussion Clinic
When an athlete gets his or her bell rung, the “shake it off and play through it” mentality of the past is not only, “old school,” it is dangerous and wrong.
“Concussions for school age athletes are more serious than had been recognized in the past,” said Dr. Kevin Whitney, a Primary Care Physician at Richland Medical Center and Richland Hospital. He is a member of the Richland Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic. “Young brains are still developing making them more susceptible to debilitating second concussions. When a young athlete returns to action before their brain is properly healed, a second concussion could mean permanent brain damage or even death,” he said.
Recent studies and media coverage surrounding teens who have suffered life altering debilitation from concussions has increased public awareness, giving parents and players more information.
Richland Sports Medicine provides the Concussion Clinic in Richland Center
Sharon Panske is an athletic trainer with Richland Sports Medicine. “In the program’s first pre-season, approximately 80% of fall athletes completed an ImPACT baseline test,” Panske said. “When we find that an athlete has suffered a concussion, we can administer a follow-up test to see if his or her results have changed from the baseline. If we see someone who did not have the initial baseline test, we can still compare the data to a standard measures.”
With ImPACT computerized testing, we can now monitor how the brain is healing and we can work with the athlete to gradually get them back into the game without putting them at greater risk.
Sue Sharpe is the mother of a Richland Center High School soccer player who has benefited from the Concussion Clinic and ImPACT testing. She said that she feels very lucky to have had her son, Kane, tested before the season began. “Now they have some data to compare,” She said. “There’s a huge difference between guessing and really having the knowledge.”
In addition to the insight gained by the ImPact testing, Sharpe gave high marks to Dr. Whitney for conveying the seriousness of the concussion to her son. “Dr. Whitney did a fabulous job of telling Kane why he couldn’t get on the computer, text his friends, or watch television,” she said.
ImPACT helps us manage concussions better than in the past
Dawn Horter has had experience with concussions before and after the clinic was started. Her son, Blake, had a concussion a few years back. “When Blake had is concussion, there was no way of measuring his progress. We just kept hoping that he was getting better,” she said.
In 2009, her son, Tony, was injured and diagnosed with a concussion following a soccer game. “We had appointments weekly or bi-weekly to see how he was doing and to let us know what we could add to his schedule,” she said.
Return to action following a concussion is a gradual, step by step process that protects the players. “The best part of this program is that as parents, we don’t have to guess whether our kids are okay or ready to play,” Horter said.
For More Information on Richland Sports Medicine’s ImPACT Testing & Concussion Clinic
Contact the Athletic Trainers at Richland Hospital Therapy Center.
(608) 647-6321 Extension 2402
The Richland Hospital, Inc.
333 East Second Street
Richland Center, WI 53581