Bayhealth Offers Baseline Concussion Testing
With many startling statistics around concussions in the news, it’s important to know that Bayhealth has a program in place that is continuing to help with this epidemic. Bayhealth Physical Therapist Angela Mollohan, PT, MPT, explained that Bayhealth offers free baseline and post-concussion testing for community members. Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT™) is one tool healthcare providers use to assess a person’s brain function so they can better identify and treat a potential concussion.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can occur with any mild blow that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. In 2011, Bayhealth Vice President of Ancillary and Clinical Services Brad Kirkes, MBA, MHA, OTR/L, CHT, FACHE, and Neurosurgeon James Mills, MD, spearheaded the initiative for Bayhealth to provide ImPACT testing at local schools and to the community. Through this program, their team has provided access to the 20-minute computer-based neuro-cognitive test that many Delaware students complete in the pre-season before starting a sport. Many schools now require their student athletes to have the ImPACT testing every two years. Testing in the school is administered primarily by the athletic trainers, but in some cases Bayhealth Physical Therapy and Wellness Center staff help administer the test.
The ImPACT test measures functions such as attention span, word memory, design memory, and reaction time, then stores the baseline data. Should a person suffer a head injury, their baseline data can be used for comparison against their post-injury test results. Along with a clinical evaluation, this information is valuable to healthcare providers in diagnosing a brain injury and determining the extent of damage and how to best manage it. Test results further guide healthcare providers in determining the amount of time needed for the brain to heal before the person should return to a sport, activity, school, or work.
“If someone sustains a head injury, it’s best to have a baseline test to compare post-concussion test results to,” said Mollohan. “This allows for a more accurate assessment of the injury, thus facilitating a safe return to sport or other activity.”
Children, adolescents and athletes of any age are generally at higher risk of concussion because they engage in more activities where collisions and head injuries could occur. The developing brains of younger people can make them more susceptible to damage.
Outside of sports, however, concussions can happen to anyone due to falls, particularly among those ages 65 and older, or other types of accidents. Prevention is not always possible, but ImPACT testing can be useful in mitigating a post-injury situation, allowing for a faster concussion diagnosis and treatment.
“The ImPACT testing is a great avenue for us to help educate the community on the seriousness of concussions and the importance of prompt treatment,” Mollohan said. “For youth in sports leagues outside of school, active adults, or really anyone—we want people to know that Bayhealth offers this free service and can provide treatment for their injuries.”
Please call the Bayhealth Outpatient Center at (302) 744-7095 to learn more or to schedule an appointment for ImPACT testing.