The Brain Injury Association of New Jersey has received funding for the administration of a grant to provide high school athletes at up to 100 schools with pre-season cognitive baseline evaluations.
These pre-season cognitive evaluations will be kept on file to be used in the future if any athlete has sustained a concussion or is suspected of sustaining a concussion or other head injury. If a head injury occurs then the athlete will be retested and the results compared to assist in making return to play decisions.
The computer testing and support is provided through an excellent product known as ImPact. ImPact is a product devised by the sports and concussion faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Sports Concussion Program and is used by many professional teams through out the country.
Funding for this program comes from the New Jersey Brain Injury Fund which is administered by the Division of Disability Services of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. Matching grant funds will be available for up to 100 public or private high schools that apply to the program. Schools must pay $650 for the program's $1,300 total cost and make a three year commitment to participate. The New Jersey Brain Injury Association will contribute the matching $650.
This is a great program to assist medical personnel in making the important determination as to when it is safe to return to play following a concussion or suspected concussion. Following the physical symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness or confusion is just not sufficient for decision making purposes. The cognitive effects of a concussion are subtle and make days or even weeks to become fully apparent.
Hopefully, more States will follow the lead of New Jersey and provide needed funding for concussion management in school athletic programs.