• The ImPACT test, widely regarded as the go-to neurological exam to measure concussive blows, doesn’t always accurately gauge a player’s readiness to return to action. And you can cheat on it.
That is one of the bullet points of an excellent article in the current LA Weekly, “Concussions Take a Terrible Toll on America’s Young Athletes,” by Steve Jansen and Gus Garcia-Roberts, http://www.laweekly.com/2011-08-18/news/concussions-take-a-terrible-toll-on-america-s-young-athletes/.
I have been criticizing the “awareness” craze pushed by National Football League-lobbied state-by-state legislation to mandate costly and half-assed measures like the institution of the ImPACT “concussion management” software — which just so happens to have been developed and marketed by the corrupt Dr. Joseph Maroon, neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In the course of that criticism, I have made the remark that you can all but set your watch by the upcoming death of a high school athlete from a second concussion after deployment of the useless ImPACT.
But the LA Weekly story shows that this has already happened:
In 2008, Ryne Dougherty, a 16-year-old high school linebacker in Essex County, N.J., sat out three weeks following a concussion. But after taking an ImPACT test, he was cleared to play. During his first game back, he suffered a brain hemorrhage; he died within a week.
Dougherty’s ImPACT results were ominously low, the family has claimed in a lawsuit against the school district. Additionally, according to the test results, Dougherty reported feeling “foggy” but still was cleared to play.
Reporters Jansen and Garcia-Roberts also note that ImPACT’s “real-world snags” include “price: At packages costing roughly $600 per school for the first year, ImPACT is too expensive for some districts. And many of those that do buy the program cannot afford to pay a specialist to administer it. Instead, that duty tends to fall on coaches or trainers.”
Last week Dr. Maroon said in an interview, “I saw some statistics a few years back, if you look at the time that kids … spend in automobiles at the same time they could be on the practice fields … the incidence of injury from being in car accidents would be significantly higher than participating in sports.”