(Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test)
In 1990, Chuck Noll was coaching a player that had a concussion which left him unable to play. Noll began to question the guidelines that determined when it was safe for a player to return to play after a concussion. He started the conversation with renown neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Maroon, about evidence based criteria for knowing when a brain is healed. Noll was 20 years ahead of his time in his thinking regarding the science of brain injury. This led Dr. Maroon and neuropsychologist, Dr. Mark Lovell to develop the first paper and pencil neurocognitive test that is now known to the world as the ImPACT test.
ImPACT, or Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test, is an FDA Approved on-line, computer-based testing program specifically designed to assess a patient’s cognitive function immediately after a suspected brain injury or concussion. There are no other FDA approved neuropsychological tests for return to play. The ImPACT test has set the standard. The test is individualized, meaning that is based on an individual’s own baseline assessment. The Steelers were not only the first NFL time to use ImPACT, but they were the only professional team utilizing baseline neurocognitive testing. Now, the ImPACT test is widely used in the NFL, NHL and other professional sports organization. It is also used in thousands of high schools and colleges, and hundreds of youth sports organizations.
ImPACT and ImPACT Pediatric are not intended to diagnose concussions or determine appropriate treatments. It evaluates multiple aspects of neurocognitive function, including memory, attention, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussion symptoms. The ImPACT and Pediatric ImPACT tools set a baseline for normal functioning brain activities. They are intended as part of the medical evaluation that doctors perform to assess signs and symptoms of a head injury. ImPACT was developed by concussion experts at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Center for Sports Medicine and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.