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Keeping student athletes safe: SGF schools implement ImPACT

February 24, 2016

Earlier this school year, South Glens Falls CSD began using the ImPACT concussion management program, a computer-based testing program used by thousands of schools across the United States.

The program’s goal is to ensure athletes are monitored and only return to sports when they are healthy and sufficiently recovered from a concussion. The district has used concussion-management software in the past, but administrators and health officials believe this program is a step up.

“ImPACT testing is just one piece of our protocol when dealing with student injuries during athletics,” said Director of Athletics Edward Cook. “It is the most up-to-date technology for assessing athletes post concussion, and we believe that the best is crucial for our student athletes.”

Through the program, students are screened every two years regardless of the sport or sports they are playing. During the 30-minute test, which is performed on a computer, the software measures brain function, such as cognitive abilities and reaction time–two things that might be affected if a concussion occurs.

The program is used for all student athletes in the district who participate in athletics from levels modified through varsity. More than 700 students in grades 7-12 participated in athletics during the 2014-15 school year.

The preliminary screening, which is typically given during practice, provides a baseline for brain function. After an injury, a post test is administered. The athlete must meet a certain standard based on their baseline data, in order to return to play, said District Nurse Bristie Tracy, who administers the testing. She works in collaboration with Cook, District Medical Director Dr. Robert Nielson, parents and students to ensure that students only return to play once they are cleared.

“It’s a very good piece of software,” she said. “It’s crucial for us to be at the forefront in concussion management. These are our athletes and our students, and we have to protect them.”

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