Sports-related concussion has been a hot topic recently, but competitive athletes are not the only people who suffer from these serious injuries. Each month, hundreds of patients are treated in Cooper’s Emergency Department and Trauma Center for mild to severe concussions, and many more seek treatment from various Cooper outpatient offices. Now, they will be evaluated using ImPACT™ (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), the same scientifically-validated computerized concussion evaluation system used by Cooper’s Sports Medicine physicians to evaluate competitive athletes with head injuries.
ImPACT™, the first, most-widely used concussion evaluation system, was created as a screening tool to assist sports medicine professionals in evaluating athletes after a suspected concussion. It helps physicians evaluate and document multiple aspects of neurocognitive functioning including memory, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussive symptoms. Almost four years ago, Cooper’s Sports Medicine orthopaedist David Gealt, DO, became certified to use ImPACT™. Today, Cooper is training an additional 20 inpatient and outpatient physicians and allied health staff from a variety of disciplines including Emergency Medicine, Trauma, Neurology, Neuropsychology, Neurosurgery Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, and Physiatry.
“This is an important step for Cooper’s Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury Program in becoming one of the most comprehensive programs in the region,” explains Warren Goldman, MD, PhD, Director of the Cooper Neurological Institute (CNI) and Chief of Neurosurgery at Cooper. “Concussions can happen to anyone at any time, and now we will be giving the same attention to these potentially serious brain injuries among average people as we do with competitive athletes.” Dr. Goldman cites falls, car or bike accidents, and violence as common causes of concussions.
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In addition to training a team of medical experts, the ImPACT™ system is being migrated to a web-based system at Cooper, allowing patients’ primary care physicians or other specialists to have access to the tests. This improved communication will allow physicians to make better future treatment decisions for their patients.
The Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury Program is part of the Cooper Neurological Institute, a multi-disciplinary, collaborative center with programs ranging from seizure disorders, pituitary and brain tumors, spinal surgery, and the Cooper Bone & Joint Institute, which oversees our sports medicine program.