At TriHealth, we love the game as much as the athletes do, and we want to keep them in the game and participating in the sports they love. That’s why TriHealth Sports Medicine started the TriHealth Concussion Program. We want to arm coaches and schools with as much information as we can.
Our experts can consult with a team physician to establish safe return-to-play assessments and to help schools or school districts in writing formal concussion policies.
Athletic Trainers at the schools assist us in identifying concussions and doing sideline assessment of injured athletes. If a concussion is suspected, athletes are then referred to our team of physicians for assessment within 72 hours. At the appointment, specific neurocognitve testing called the Sports Concussion Office Assessment Tool (SCOAT) testing will be administered. This is a clinical test that can help diagnosis a concussion and monitor healing and progress. For many athletes, A CT scan or MRI is not indicated, as they do not diagnose a concussion, but rather rule out other pathology that could be causing concussion like symptoms. The SCOAT test will be administered at each office visit to track healing.
Our TriHealth supported schools also have access to a computer based neurocognitive test. The test is called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) and is the first scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. There’s a different test for students in middle and junior high schools. A certified athletic trainer administers the baseline test to measure the student-athlete’s everyday cognitive functions – things like ability to follow directions, memory and reasoning. It measures how the mind works – it is not an intelligence test. ImPACT is the kind of test you can’t study for, and it only takes about 25 minutes. This approach provides a baseline of what’s considered normal for the student-athlete. After concussion, the test may be repeated to aid in return to play decision making. Administration of the baseline test is free to participating schools and athletic programs. TriHealth has paid all license fees for the ImPACT test.
Our TriHealth Concussion Program physicians and certified athletic trainers will take a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to the student-athlete’s care. We’ll be happy to talk to the primary care doctor and recommend treatment as the student-athlete recovers. Initially physical and cognitive rest is recommended. This may mean making academic accommodations for student-athletes in addition to limiting their sport-specific activity. We also have the ability to administer follow-up tests as one way to monitor his or her progress. We follow return-to-play guidelines (PDF) endorsed by experts around the world at the Third International Conference on Concussion in Sport, held in Zurich in November 2008.