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MEEKER I A concussion is not just a “bump on the head.” A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works.
Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth.
Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung” or what seems to be mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. It is a traumatic brain injury that needs to be treated appropriately.
Pioneers Medical Center (PMC) and Meeker School District are teaming up to raise awareness about sports-related concussions.
“This new concussion program has two major objectives,” says Dr. Chris Williams of PMC. “First it addresses concussion prevention and second it gives us better tools to treat each individual concussion.”
Part one of the program is parent, coach and teacher awareness. School coaches participate in regular training sessions for concussion-related injuries and learn to identify symptoms of a concussion.
For example, some common symptoms of a concussion are headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and balance problems, sensitivity to light and/or noise, drowsiness and more. These symptoms should be monitored the first 72 hours after the injury and then daily and weekly for a minimum of three weeks, maybe longer, depending on the injury.
Part two of the program gives the health provider the information needed to best treat each individual patient.
Pioneers Medical Center and the Meeker Athletic Program have acquired the ImPACT software tool. The Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing program utilizes a computer exam to diagnose and manager concussions. If an athlete is believed to have suffered a head injury, the ImPACT tool can help assess the severity of the injury, then the estimated time for full recovery.
The ImPACT software allows for very individualized care.
In order for the program to be the most effective, athletes are asked to complete an initial ImPACT screening. This is easily done on a computer where athletes complete a “video-game” type activity. It only takes approximately 30 minutes.
This test will document information such as memory, reaction time, speed and concentration. It is not an IQ test.
“I consider this to be much like a pre-season physical for the brain,” Williams said. “We take a physical for the body, we need to take a physical for the brain.”
If an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, then they will take the ImPACT test again and the information will be used as part of the medical evaluation.
“We believe the ImPACT test is a critical tool to help us best treat concussions, and we would recommend that all Meeker athletes — middle and high school — take this free non-invasive test,” Williams said.
Pioneers Medical Center offers the test without charge. Contact Sharon Parr at 970-878-9373 to schedule your test.