Grand Island Addressing Concussions Head On

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Experts say a concussion is different from many sports injuries. You can't see it, and you can't detect it, unless you interact with the person who is injured.

Grand Island Senior High Athletic Director Todd Goshorn said, "It's so individualistic that it affects everyone differently. If it were a sprained ankle, you could see the swelling and the discoloration. With a concussion, obviously you can't do that and that's why ImPACT is a crucial tool of helping us make a decision."

ImPACT is a line of testing now being used by St. Francis Medical Center and the Nebraska Sports Concussion Network to evaluate possible concussion subjects as thoroughly as possible.

"It's a series of questions, neurological type questions," said Director of Strategic Planning at St. Francis Medical Center Vaugh Minton. "Kind of like taking a psychology test and you'll be asked different things with kind of a cognitive response and you'll be measured with those and those are recorded."

Officials say the tests are first administered when an athlete is in a healthy state. That way, it can be referred to as a base if the athlete needs to be evaluated in the future, but as this reporter learned, the test is difficult even with full concentration. It tests six different parts of the brain to assure accuracy when taking a chance on sending a player back to the field.

It's a chance Grand Island Senior High won't take - thanks to the test.

"I did one yesterday," said Goshorn. "And that particular person, his visual and motor skills were way below his baseline, so you can say, 'Okay, all the areas are good, but one of them wasn't. We're going to hold him out again and wait another 24 to 48 hours to do another test with him.'"

149 other Nebraska schools also currently use the test.