Date Published: 8/21/2012

Roper St. Francis and Charleston County Schools Make an Impact

Specialized software program aids concussion diagnoses for student athletes

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Aug. 21, 2012) – Roper St. Francis Sports Medicine (RSFH) and Charleston County School District (CCSD) are continuing their Safe Play for Sports partnership by protecting the district’s high school athletes with a new software program designed to identify the severity of concussions.


For the first time CCSD high school student-athletes will have even more protection on the field or court with the use of imPACT, the most widely used and scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system in the nation. ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) tool that helps medical professionals determine the severity of head injuries.


How imPACT works
Student-athletes take a 20-minute computerized test, that scans for TBI and concussions to create a baseline. When a student athlete takes a hit, the impact test is administered again for comparison to the baseline. ImPACT is designed to be used in conjuction with other assessment tools for evaluating the severity of symptoms, with results determining when the student may safely return to play.


“Last year, when CCSD was able to partner with Roper St. Francis for certified athletic trainers, it meant that 3,000 athletes would finally have the professional on-the-field care that only a certified trainer could provide,” said David Spurlock, athletics director, CCSD. “Because of the success of the program, we are also now able to render cutting edge care with the imPACT concussion program. This will allow coaches, trainers and medical professionals access to the most accurate neurological record keeping that is available.”


“My primary concern for Charleston County School District Athletics is the safety of our student/athletes,” Spurlock continues. “Now that we have certified athletic trainers in our schools and a fantastic relationship with Roper St. Francis, we have what I feel is world class care.”


Why imPACT is needed
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 71 percent of TBI emergency department visits related to sports and recreation were among youths ages 10-19 years. Athletes who experienced a concussion are at increased risk for another concussion, known as second-impact syndrome.


What this means to CCSD
In 2011, RSFH partnered with CCSD to place seven RSFH certified athletic trainers in nine CCSD high schools to provide conditioning and prevention education, injury prevention assistance and timely medical intervention if needed. This was the first time the schools had a dedicated medical professional at every practice and every game.


“With two student lives saved and numerous injuries treated, the program is already a success,” Spurlock said.


The implementation of imPACT is an expansion of the services provided by the certified athletic trainers.


All RSFH certified athletic trainers have received extensive training on the imPACT software and pre-season scans have already begun.


Roper St. Francis Sports Medicine also offers a weekly sports injury clinic every Saturday from 9 – 11 a.m. from Aug. 25 through Oct. 27. For more information on the clinic call (843) 991-8329.