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2012 Press Releases
Morton Plant Mease Sports Medicine Program Expands ImPACT Test to More Pinellas County High Schools
09/17/2012

Computer tool to manage concussion recovery for student athletes

CLEARWATER, Fla., (September 17, 2012)– Morton Plant Mease’s sports medicine program for student athletes has expanded its concussion management program and  ImPACT, Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, an objective measurement tool used for concussion screenings, to several more high schools in Pinellas County just in time for the start of high school football season. 

Student athletes at Seminole and Clearwater high schools were first part of the trial program with 116 tested in the initial year. With support from the Morton Plant Mease Foundation, the ImPACT program will extend to eight more Pinellas County high schools with the goal of testing approximately 2,000 student athletes at the following high schools: Countryside, Dunedin, East Lake, Largo, Osceola, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park and Tarpon Springs.

“The number of sports-related concussions are highest among high school aged athletes and can lead to challenges with learning and scholastic performance, said Ted Farrar, MD, Morton Plant Mease family and sports medicine physician. “ImPACT provides objective data to physicians to determine the severity of the concussion, how to manage the recovery more effectively, and when a student athlete can safely return to the game.” 

The Florida Legislature recently passed a law to protect the safety of youth athletes from risk of concussions and head injuries that requires youth athletes be taken out of sporting events or practices under certain conditions that cause risk of head injuries and requires written medical clearance to return to play. 

ImPACT is a neurocognitive test that measures visual and verbal memory, visual motor time, reaction time, and impulse control. The baseline test is compared to a follow up test after a concussion occurs to determine if there are any changes in the brain, whether or not the student athlete needs to be sidelined for a period of time, and when can return to play. It is the same neurocognitive program used by the NFL, NHL, MLB and several college programs.  

Concussions are brain injuries that disrupt normal brain functions and caused by a bump, jolt or blow to the head or body that can happen not only from playing football, but also from other sports including soccer, swimming and cheerleading. Some signs of a concussion include headaches, nausea, balance problems, concentration or memory problems, confusion, and blurry vision.

Morton Plant Mease’s comprehensive concussion management program involves certified athletic trainers, primary care physicians, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, and certified vestibular physical therapists. The program’s goal is to increase safety awareness among parents, coaches and student athletes and provide educational materials and follow up evaluations to determine return to play timelines for student athletes. 

Morton Plant Mease has provided certified athletic trainers at north Pinellas schools to be on-hand at sporting practices and events for more than 10 years as part of a partnership with the Pinellas County School District.

About Morton Plant Mease

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals – Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.

About BayCare Health System

BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 10 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient’s lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need. 

BayCare’s family of hospitals are: Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, St. Joseph’s Women’s, and South Florida Baptist. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at www.BayCare.org.

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