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Use the ImPACT Concussion Management Model to manage concussions when they first occur to help prevent further injury.

Concussion Management Model

The ImPACT Concussion Management Model for athletes, schools and teams is a five step protocol of best practice recommendations for how multidisciplinary teams can best use ImPACT. The ImPACT Concussion Management Model builds partnerships with healthcare professionals and athletic trainers to offer training and resources for affordable concussion management to benefit athletes and their parents – before, during and after a concussion is suspected or diagnosed.

ImPACT's ongoing commitment to research and the Concussion Management Model may assist in making safe return to play decisions, which helps to limit the likelihood of long-term injury. While ImPACT assists in making return-to-play decisions, it should never be used as a stand-alone tool or as a diagnostic instrument.

Step 1: Pre-Season Baseline Testing and Education
  • Educate athletes, parents, coaches, and teachers on concussions.
  • Take an ImPACT Training Webinar or Video on Demand course, or attend a Workshop to learn about baseline test administration.
  • Have a concussion management protocol on-hand and a ready team of key professionals prepared to treat an athlete. Roles and duties should be established for athletic trainer, concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD), and rehabilitation.
  • Have parents sign high school permission slip.
  • Schedule supervised baselines in school's computer lab.
  • Test Administrator confirms all baselines are valid. If invalid, retest athlete.
Step 2: Concussion is Suspected
  • Conduct sideline assessment.
  • ImPACT mobile apps, such as Sideline or PCSI may be utilized in this step.
  • If concussion is suspected, immediately remove from play/activity.
  • Athletic trainer sets up referral for concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD).
  • Conduct vestibular screening.
  • At the discretion of trained medical personnel, conduct brain imaging through MRI, CT scan or a Near-Infrared device such as an infra scanner.
Step 3: Post-Injury Testing and Treatment Plan
  • Athlete to take supervised post-injury test 24-72 hours after injury.
  • Athletic trainer continues to coordinate ongoing care with concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD).
  • Team coordinates care between athlete, parent, MD/DO/PhD, athletic trainers, teachers, and coaches.
  • Does the athlete need additional and more extensive neuropsychological testing? If so, refer to Neuropsychologist.
  • Does the athlete need vestibular/physical therapy? If so, refer to Physical Therapist.
Step 4: Is Athlete Ready for Non-Contact Activity

A. Symptom free at rest and with cognitive exertion.
B. Post-injury test within normal range of baseline.
C. Normal vestibular evaluation.

  • If A, B, C are not met, return to Step 3.
  • If A, B, C are met, obtain written clearance for progression to activity by supervising professional that has specific training in concussion management.
  • Implement stepwise return-to-play progression, beginning with light non-contact activity progressing to full non-contact exertion, with approval of a trained medical professional.
Step 5: Determining Safe Return-to-Play
  • Return-to-play decisions should always be made by a concussion specialist (MD/DO/PhD).
  • No recurring symptoms at rest or following physical or cognitive exertion.
  • ImPACT test scores back to baseline.
  • Athlete's final ImPACT score is set as their new baseline.