Baseline Concussion Testing: ImPACT® Test
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a direct impact to the head or an indirect blow to the body. Concussions often happen to people playing sports, but can also occur as a result of falls, head bumps, vehicle accidents, or an everyday mishap.
Concussion experts, who now lead the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Programme in the U.S., have developed software to help diagnose concussions.
Doctors use this state-of-the-art technology with children and adults. And, while it can be utilised if they suspect a concussion, doctors can also use it prior to injury to help gauge severity of a concussion should it occur.
ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a 20-30 minute software-based neurocognitive assessment that measures brain function.
You can take the test in the comfort of your home or on-site at one of our locations.
If you play sports, you should refer to the guidelines below and schedule your baseline ImPACT test accordingly. ImPACT also helps doctors diagnose your concussion and decide when it's safe for you to return to normal activity.
What is a Baseline Concussion Test?
A baseline test measures how your brain works before you've had a concussion. It records your brain when it's in a normal, healthy state. You take the test online either at home or at one of our sites.
ImPACT Baseline Testing is a series of game-like activities that take less than 30 minutes to complete.
Test results show an accurate picture of healthy brain function.
ImPACT Concussion Testing measures brain activity such as:
- Ability to solve verbal problems.
- Ability to solve visual problems.
- Attention span.
- Brain processing speed.
- Impulse control.
- Multitasking ability.
- Reaction time.
If you have a concussion, doctors will give you a test at the time of diagnosis and compare those results to your baseline test.
Doctors will compare the scores to help decide:
- How severe your concussion is.
- What your customised treatment plan will be.
- When it's safe for you to return to normal activity.
Why Should You Take a Baseline Concussion Test?
There are several reasons to take baseline concussion tests. It's especially important if you or your child play sports.
It shows what your normal brain activity looks like.
The baseline test shows how you think before a concussion occurs. The system will store that data in your secure, personal profile within the UPMC Concussion Network in Ireland. If you ever have a concussion, doctors can customise your treatment based on your baseline results.
It helps doctors diagnose a concussion quickly.
When an athlete or anyone suffers a concussion, post-injury testing and quick treatment is crucial.
Our concussion experts use the baseline data as part of the post-injury exam. They may also conduct other brain function tests as needed.
It's necessary to compare pre- and post-concussion brain activity.
If doctors suspect you've had a concussion, they'll ask you to repeat the ImPACT test. They'll compare the two tests to determine the severity and effects of the injury.
Then, doctors will create a custom course of treatment and rehabilitation.
It's likely that patients will take repeated baseline tests throughout treatment to monitor progress. If necessary, treatment plans will be adjusted based on test results.
It's safe and effective.
UPMC has administered ImPACT Concussion Testing more than 16 million times since 2002.
Many professional sports leagues, colleges, and schools in the U.S. and Canada use it as well as local organisations such as the GAA and Waterford FC.
Who Should Have ImPACT Concussion Testing?
Among others, anyone who plays or coaches sports should have ImPACT Concussion Testing.
UPMC offers baseline testing to:
- Elite and club athletes.
- Recreational athletes.
- Anyone interested in obtaining an accurate measure of brain function.
There are two types of tests:
- Adult ImPACT — for ages 10 and up.
- Paediatric ImPACT — for ages 5-9.
We recommend baseline concussion testing:
- Every year for children 12 and under.
- Every two years for those 13 and older.
To learn more about how to book an online baseline test, call (051) 376827 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.