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Private School in Florida Sets Proactive Policy for Concussion Management, Testing all Students

Florida Air Academy, the Melbourne based private school for boys and girls in grades 6-12, has announced that it is the first high school in central Florida to proactively administer the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) computerized assessment to all students.

With the Centers for Disease Control reporting an increased level of sports-related, traumatic brain injuries to people under the age of 19, it is no surprise that baseline testing is gaining momentum in high schools and colleges throughout the country–with schools like Florida Air Academy, Nova Southeastern and Florida Institute of Technology, proactively administering tests.

“Florida Air Academy made the decision to implement ImPACT testing because we believe it ensures student safety and a more accurate diagnosis in the event of injury,” said Barbara Kaufman, R.N. and F.A.A. school Nurse. “The tests give comfort to parents who are concerned about their children playing sports, and can help the school make a more accurate determination as to whether a concussion occurred and whether a child is ready to return to athletic activities.”

The ImPACT test is administered on a computer and takes about 25 minutes to complete. It measures verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time. It is available in multiple languages, which is especially helpful for a school like Florida Air Academy that has students from more than 25 countries in its student population.

Should a head injury occur, the school is able to treat the student and then re-test within 3-5 days of an incident. The before-and-after test results can then be provided to the treating physician to more accurately determine the severity of an injury, and importantly, whether a student is physically able to return to play.

If a concussion is suspected, the baseline report serves as a comparison to a repeat ImPACT test, giving physicians something concrete to use in assessing potential changes or damage caused by a concussion–rather than solely base their analysis on subjective statements like “I feel dizzy” or “I have a headache.” Baseline tests are suggested every two years for students in grades 6-12. Florida Air Academy requires them each year.

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