Concussions and ImPACT Testing

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is an injury to the brain.

Initially, there are signs that may be observed by friends, parents, teachers or coaches:


  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Seemed confused
  • Forgets plays
  • Is unsure of game, score or opponents
  • Moves clumsily
  • Slow to answer questions
  • Loses consciousness
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can't recall events prior to the hit or after a hit


  • Headache or "pressure" in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light and or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Just not "feeling right" or is "feeling down"

Symptoms of a concussion may last only for a few hours or can last for several weeks. No two individuals will respond the same to a concussion and management must be highly individualized for each patient. Even after the more obvious concussion symptoms clear, such as a headache and sensitivity to light, other less obvious symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even months after. These symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, feeling sluggish, and overall not feeling like oneself. It is important for a concussion patient to be honest about whether or not he/she is truly feeling 100% back to normal. Returning to activity too soon before the brain is fully healed can have serious, long-term consequences. 


Once a concussion occurs, the brain is vulnerable to further injury and it is not safe to return to physical activity. Like any injury, it takes time to recover from a concussion. There is no typical timeline for recovery; every athlete and every concussion is different. To recover as quickly as possible, the most important thing a patient can do is REST. Rest is essential in brain healing. This includes physical and mental rest. Concussion patients should limit screen time (computer, videogames, television and cell phone) and exposure to bright lights and loud noises.


ImPACT Testing

What is it?

ImPACT testing is a computerized test that measures the effects of concussion on the brain. The ImPACT test assesses areas such as verbal memory, visual memory, reaction time and processing ability.

ImPACT testing is a tool used to help those involved in concussion management to determine when an athlete is ready to start the return-to-play process.  Pre-season ImPACT testing provides a baseline of "normal" brain function for each individual, which can be used following a concussion for comparison to assess how an athlete is recovering.

ImPACT Testing Services at Black River Memorial Hospital:

  • ImPACT testing is completed during preseason testing sessions for middle school and high school athletes in the Black River Falls (mandatory for athletic participation at BRFHS) and Alma Center-Humbird-Merillan school districts.
  • Following a concussion, an ImPACT test will be given when the student athlete is symptom-free for a miniumum of 24 hours. A satisfactory score on the ImPACT test, along with physician clearance, is needed prior to starting the 5-step return-to-play protocol.

BRF Tigers Concussion Video

ACGN Hornets Concussion Video

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