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Children that participate in sports of any kind always run the risk of an injury. Contact sports like football and soccer in particular have a higher probability of a collision, fall, or injury occurring. A common injury is a concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). A concussion is often caused by a blow to the head, or a fall. Your child may or may not have been unconscious for a few seconds or minutes after the injury, and after “coming around,” the child is thought to be OK. It is important to know that it’s possible to have symptoms of a concussion weeks or months after an incident. The good news is that, for most people,  these symptoms will likely go away on their own. Most people with a concussion recover fully, with no need for treatment. But it helps to know there is a way for student athletes to be monitored and cared for, should a concussion occur while playing sports.

Concussions can happen to any boy or girl in any sport. The short-term effects of a concussion can generate additional problems or be very dangerous when athletes go back to the game before they fully recover from a concussion. Parents should make sure that children wear the right safety gear during all practices and games and that schools have a concussion plan.

The WIAA created this helpful video to explain more about concussions:

Fort HealthCare has a dedicated team of individuals specially-trained to provide individualized care and treatment for concussions. The team uses the ImPACT™ (Immediate Post-Assessment and Cognitive Testing) tool to help with this.

ImPACT™ is a program Fort HealthCare has adopted providing baseline concussion screening to athletes who participate in contact sports such as football and soccer. The program manages concussions through a sophisticated test of the athlete’s cognitive abilities, including verbal and visual memory, brain processing speed, and reaction time to help health care professionals track recovery following a concussion. ImPACT™ (Immediate Post-Assessment and Cognitive Testing) standardized assessments allow for communication of post-concussion status to athletes, coaches, parents, and clinicians. It also assists health care professionals and educators in making decisions about academic needs following a concussion. The ultimate goal of ImPACT™ is to determine if an athlete is safe and able to return to play. Studies have shown that over 40 percent of high school athletes returned to play too soon after suffering a concussion. Even more alarming, one in six football players who sustained a concussion and lost consciousness returned to play the same day.

Given the unique nature of every concussion, it is important to manage them on an individualized basis. Fort HealthCare has a dedicated team of professionals specially-trained in managing ImPACT™ testing, reading the results, and coordinating the best care plan for individuals who have experienced an MTBI. As members of Fort HealthCare’s Sports Medicine team, this group of health professionals work with area schools’ administration and athletic departments, as well as with local sports organizations.

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