Researchers question reliability of ImPACT testing for concussions

The ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) program has become the standard for computerized concussion evaluation. Hundreds of thousands of athletes across the country will take the test to create a cognitive baseline, especially during the fall as school sports begin.

The program is used to diagnose concussions and provides a guideline for how quickly to allow athletes to return to play. However, an in-depth story in The Bulletin of Bend, Ore. questioned the validity of ImPACT testing.

The Bend, Ore., Center was one of the first facilities to adopt the ImPACT program in 2001 after it was developed two years earlier by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researchers. The Center study said problems with ImPACT have arisen in recent years when testing was showing the opposite of what clinicians were observing.

Now some researchers are questioning the use of the ImPACT program. And baseline testing is being called into question. ImPACT developers counter that their tests are being held to a higher standard.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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