Test helps doctors diagnose and treat head injuries in student-athletes

As head injuries become an increasing concern in sports, Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland is working with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to improve concussion diagnosis and treatment.

The result of the partnership is a program, which began last fall, that requires all high school athletes to take a preseason baseline exam every two years using a computerized tool called ImPACT™.

“ImPACT measures cognitive functions such as memory, processing speed and reaction time,” says Shital Pavawalla, PhD, neuropsychologist and clinical director of the Concussion Assessment and Management Program at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland. “The baseline exam results can be compared with post-injury tests to aid in diagnosis and to help determine an appropriate treatment plan.”

Shital Pavawalla, PhD

Shital Pavawalla, PhD

Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland provides exams at 13 of the 25 Montgomery County high schools, testing more than 8,000 athletes this past school year. Next year, the hospital anticipates providing about 2,000 additional tests to freshmen and new athletes.

In addition to the MCPS partnership, Adventist Rehabilitation offers a comprehensive concussion clinic for adolescents and adults, ages 14 and older, who have experienced a concussion injury from any trauma, including from sports, motor vehicle accidents or falls.