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Wheeling Park Hospital Credited In Sports Related Concussion Assessments

By Staff | Oct 12, 2011

The therapists and trainers in Wheeling Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department are continuing their work to help local student-athletes test and treat for concussions.

“We’ve been doing this for 10 years, in conjunction with Dr. Joseph Maroon and his associates in Pittsburgh,” said John DeBlasis, Wheeling Hospital director of PT.

Maroon is the developer of the ImPACT – Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing – now used by the NFL.

“The validation of Wheeling Hospital becoming a credential consultant is proof positive that the student-athletes of the Ohio Valley are getting the same care of any major college or professional sport anywhere in the country,” said DeBlasis.

To make the testing even more convenient for area student-athletes, Wheeling Hospital’s therapists and trainers are taking the testing to the schools. In the past, the student-athletes had to go to the hospital for the base-line test.

“With the service available online, we use two computer labs to do the tests,” DeBlasis said. “We can test a lot more students quickly, enabling even more to have that important assessment.”

ImPACT takes about 20 minutes to complete and measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including: attention span; working memory; sustained and selective attention time response variability; non-verbal problem solving; and reaction time.

Features of the assessment include:

-Measures player symptoms.

-Measures verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time.

-Reaction time measured to 1/100th of second.

-Assists clinicians and athletic trainers in making difficult return-to-play decisions.

-Provides reliable baseline test information.

-Produces comprehensive report of test results.

-Results can be e-mailed or faxed for fast consultation by a neuropsychologist.

-Automatically stores data from repeat testing.

Once a baseline is established, the PT department can retest the student-athlete who has suffered a concussion and compare the data. The ImPACT software enables the staff to help determine if an athlete is having problems as a result of the concussion.

It also provides physicians with data to supplement their decision-making process to ensure a safer return to sports. With the ImPACT system, the therapists can identify issues even when an athlete has no complaint or outward sign of a concussion problem.

The test data, along with the clinical evaluation, helps assist in the ‘return-to-play’ decision-making process for each individual.

While the baseline tests now are being taken to the schools, post-concussion testing and treatment will continue to be performed at Wheeling Hospital by Eddy, in conjunction with the PT staff. They will also discuss a timeline for a safe return to sports with the student-athletes and their families.

For more information on ImPACT testing, call 304-243-3307.