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 conjunction 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.
“Given the inherent complexities of concussion management as well as what we now know about the potential long-term effects of concussions, it is important to manage concussions on an individualized basis,” said R. Morgan Stuart, M.D., a Roper St. Francis neurosurgeon and director of the CCSD sports medicine concussion program. “I’m excited about the opportunity to provide the athletes of the CharlestonCounty school system with the very same computer-based testing program used by professional sports teams around the world.”
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.
About Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Serving South Carolina’s Lowcountry for almost 200 years, Roper St. Francis Healthcare is the area’s only non-profit health system and is dedicated to the mission of “Healing All People with Compassion, Faith and Excellence.” With more than 100 facilities across seven counties, the system’s hospitals include RoperHospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital and Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital. The system employs a network of more than 200 doctors and has a medical staff of more than 800 physicians covering all specialties. Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s more than 5,300 employees pride themselves on being nationally-recognized through Joint Commission accreditations and awards including hundreds earned for patient, physician and employee satisfaction. www.RSFH.com.