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Gwinnett Medical Center ImPACTs the Community

05.02.2008

*CBS 46 News' report on ImPACT: http://www.cbs46.com/video/17767979/index.html

Lawrenceville, Ga.—According to the American Medical Association two million sports-related concussions happen each year, and 85% of those go unrecognized. Gwinnett Medical Center’s Sports Medicine Program has a vision to improve the standard of care for athletes suffering concussions. For this reason, GMC is providing Gwinnett County Public High Schools with a new tool to manage head injuries called the ImPACT (Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) Program. Gwinnett is the first county in Georgia to implement this program county-wide.


“Gwinnett Medical Center and its affiliated physicians are excited to move forward with this program as it will improve the management and outcomes of concussions that occur in Gwinnett County's high school athletes,” said Scott Maughon, MD, orthopedic surgeon and GMC Sports Medicine Committee chairperson.


ImPACT is a sophisticated, research-based computer test developed to help clinicians evaluate recovery following concussion. A 20-minute test battery can be administered in the pre-season for a baseline and post-injury to track a concussion. ImPACT promotes an athlete’s full recovery from injury and assists medical professionals in making a safe return-to-play decision and reducing the chance of follow-up concussions.

The instrument has been designed after approximately 10-years of University-based, grant-supported research in Pittsburgh. Mat Pombo, MD, who has just joined GMC after completing his fellowship in Pittsburgh where he was also trained and certified in the ImPACT program, presented information about the program to the County’s high school athletic directors on May 1, 2008.


“I hope to serve as a facilitator to athletic trainers, physicians, parents and coaches as we move forward,” said Dr. Pombo. “We have advanced tremendously in the management of these injuries, and neurocognitive testing (ImPACT) should be a significant tool in the algorithm of management in athletes with concussions.”

With the help of Gwinnett Medical Center, this network has already taken it's framework with the county's coaches and athletic directors implementing neurocognitive testing for their football players.  This step alone will provide a baseline that school’s athletic trainers and physicians can refer to if a student athlete sustains a concussion in season.  This program is aimed to aid physician’s ability to safely return athletes with concussions to play.

“We need to do a better job with this injury because it can have significant impact on a student athlete’s performance in the classroom as well as the risks associated with another head impact on the field,” said Dr. Pombo.  

About Gwinnett Medical Center
Gwinnett Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare network providing high quality facilities and services to Gwinnett and the surrounding community. With over 4,300 employees and 800 physicians, GMC provided care in 2007 to over 400,000 patients.  In 2007, Gwinnett Medical Center launched Project PATH—to plan, advance and transform healthcare in Gwinnett County.