The ImPACT Test
ImPACT is a user-friendly, computer based testing program, specifically designed for the management of concussion injuries. The instrument has been designed after approximately ten years of research. ImPACT is currently the most widely utilized computerized concussion management program in the world and is implemented effectively across junior high, high school, collegiate, and professional levels of sport participation.
At the forefront of proper concussion management is the implementation of baseline and/or post-injury neurocognitive testing. Such an evaluation can help to objectively evaluate the concussed personís post-injury condition and monitor recovery to determine when it is safe for the individual to return to play. By knowing when the brain is actually healed, and not allowing the individual to participate in any activity which can further damage the brain until the healing has been completed, we can prevent the cumulative effects of concussion to occur.
ImPACT takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. It is a user-friendly, Windows-based computer program. Reaction time is reliably measured to 1/100th of a second across individual test modules and allows for an assessment of processing speed as the person fatigues. The test battery consists of a near infinite number of alternate forms. This feature was built in to the program to minimize the "practice effects" that have limited the usefulness of more traditional neurocognitive tests.
The program measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Different sections measure memory, speed, brain processing, and visual motor skills. Users are asked to remember words, letters and shapes and are asked to distinguish colors and numbers. They are asked to work as quickly as they can.
You can take the test online through this website to establish a baseline for yourself. Then, if you suffer a head injury during the next year, you can retake the test at the office of a qualified head injury specialist and your pre-injury and post-concussion scores will be compared to determine if you have suffered an injury to your brain. Your doctor may have you retake the test over the following weeks to determine when your brain has finally returned to normal.
Even if you havenít taken a baseline test, you can still take the test after having suffered a head injury. Your scores will be evaluated based on a comparison with your normative group. That is, a group of people who are your age, gender, and level of education. Right now, norms are available for comparison for males and females from age 11 through 54. But by taking a baseline test, should you suffer a concussion your test scores can be compared to your pre-accident level of functioning. This is the GOLD-STANDARD for assessment of concussive injuries.