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Vanderbilt University to Offer Comprehensive and Uniform Concussion Management

With the opening of school and the increased risk of concussions in school based athletic programs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee has created a special program to integrate and standardize the care of athletes and others who suffer concussion.

The new program is called the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center, is a joint venture between the Vanderbilt Orthopaedics Institute and Vanderbilt Neurosciences Institute.  It is designed to provide uniform care and a standardized treatment protocol to athletes in every sport, at every grade level and at every level of play.

Athletes can enter the Vanderbilt system from many points – an emergency room visit, an evaluation by an athletic trainer during competition or a referral by a primary care physician, for example – and it is important that all receive the same care.

Utilizing electronic medical records, there is a standardized symptom checklist and neurocognitive and balance assessments. The standardized protocols will also expedite research.

Providers will know the right questions to ask, the right assessment tools to utilize and the correct protocol to determine when it is safe to allow a player to return to play following a concussion or suspected brain injury.

The Concussion Center will offer ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), a computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT includes a baseline test of factors including reaction time, memory and attention span, which can be compared to post-injury tests to track an athlete’s recovery and assist in determining a safe time to return to play.

All high school, college and professional athletes cared for by Vanderbilt providers will receive ImPACT baseline testing before their season begins.

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