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New Ulm Medical Center

How ImPACT is protecting local student athletes

People are paying more attention to concussions now than ever before, and New Ulm Medical Center has the tools needed to make sure your child is safe to return to the field.

Athletics are an important part of growing up. But when a child or teenager suffers a head injury or concussion during the course of a game, the fun aspect of athletics can turn awfully scary.

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Sydney Remus, a basketball player at Sleepy Eye Public High School, suffered a concussion last year. She and her parents were grateful for the ImPACT concussion management program to help them determine when it was truly safe for her to return to the game without threat of incurring what could have been a more devastating injury.

A Closer Look at Concussion

This is exactly what happened to Sleepy Eye Public High School student Sydney Remus, now a senior at the school. As a junior last year, Sydney was playing in a basketball game in January. “It was a jump ball,” Remus said. “As I was coming down, my head flew back, and I hit it just at the bottom of the mat against the wall and then on the floor.”

Remus said her vision was a little blurry, but after eight minutes resting on the bench, the competitive athlete convinced her coach that she was ready to get back into the game. She played and felt fine until the game was over, she said.

“Just as I was getting ready to leave, it hit me. My head was throbbing, and I couldn’t walk. I just felt dizzy. I had to sit down,” she said.

How ImPACT Helped Sydney

Sydney’s mom, Darla Remus, immediately called Sister Kenny Athletic Trainer Jill Weiss. And Weiss used her considerable skills to diagnose a concussion on the field and remove her from play.

A few days later, Weiss also had at her disposal another cutting-edge way to assess the severity of Sydney’s concussion and determine when it’s okay for her to return to play. It’s known as ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing).

“ImPACT is a computerized neurocognitive assesment that aids in the return-to-play decision of an athlete that has suffered a concussion,” said Weiss. “The test measures verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time. It allows us as medical professionals to manage concussions on a more individualized basis, offering baseline and post-injury testing. It is one more tool to help evaluate their post-injury condition, track their recovery and protect them from the potentially serious consequences of returning too soon.”

For Sydney, the ImPACT program very well could have prevented her from doing further damage to herself. Her condition actually worsened for the first few days before it began to improve, and this was evident on the results of the ImPACT. In all, Weiss tested Sydney three times, and it was well over a week before she returned to playing basketball.

Though Sydney ended up missing a couple of games, she and her parents had the reassurance that she was fully recovered from her concussion before she got back on the court.

For more information about the ImPACT Concussion Management program, call the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute – New Ulm at 507-233-1173.