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Memorial Hospital Offers a Heads Up on Concussion Injuries – 10/30/05

Memorial Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center is taking proactive measures to safeguard athletes who may be prone to concussions playing in high-impact sports. At-risk athletes can now participate in a computer-based cognitive test called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing)—a comprehensive assessment tool that provides standard measures on brain processing, speed, memory and visual motor skills. The 30-minute test yields key data regarding an athlete’s normal brain functions, which can be compared/contrasted in a follow-up test if a head injury occurs.

When concussions are suspected, athletes are administered the ImPACT test one or more times to track their recovery and help specialists determine when or if it is safe to return to play. “The ability to compare performance levels on highly sensitive measures, before and after suspected injuries, is the only proven method to ensure that the brain is functioning normally,” says Dr. Michael Nunley, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Memorial Hospital. Dr. Nunley has been instrumental in bringing the ImPACT program to Colorado Springs and Memorial.  

An estimated 10 percent of all athletes who participate in contact sports sustain a concussion. Competitors who return to play before the brain has fully healed from a previous concussion are prone to recurring concussions or a more serious condition known as second impact syndrome—an acute, potentially fatal swelling of the brain.

Over 500 high schools, along with numerous collegiate and professional teams, currently use the ImPACT assessment tool—including participants in football, ice hockey, soccer, baseball, wrestling, lacrosse, field hockey, skiing, diving and rugby.

Memorial Hospital will offer the ImPACT baseline test, by appointment only, on November 19 and 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and again on December 3 and 4, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Memorial’s Rehabilitation Center—located at 175 South Union Blvd., Suite 250. Testing will also be available by appointment on November 29, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For appointments or questions please call (719) 365-6543.

 The cost of the ImPACT baseline test is $40 per athlete. Pre-registration is required and participants must be at least 11 years old.

Media inquiries please contact Memorial Hospital Public Relations at (719) 365-5235.