Mercy Health Will Teach Athletic Trainers at 26 Partner Schools How to Test Student Athletes for Concussion

(CINCINNATI; September 4, 2014) - Mercy Health, which provides advanced, quality care with compassion in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that it is providing athletic trainers at its 26 partner schools with specialized concussion training on the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT testing helps physicians, trainers, student athletes and their parents know when an injured student can return to play safely.

“I am thrilled to see so many of my fellow athletic trainers take part in this session,” said Rocky Tekulve, a Mercy Health certified athletic trainer (AT) who works with New Richmond high school and also provides functional rehabilitation for athletes returning to play after suffering a concussion. “It will help athletic trainers at schools throughout Greater Cincinnati that work with Mercy Health to identify with accuracy when athletes have concussions and ensure they don’t return to sports before they’ve fully healed.”

"Symptoms of concussion are not always definite and the decision to allow an individual to return to activity is not always clear,” said Dr. Mark Lovell, chief scientific officer and chairman of ImPACT Applications, Inc. “Our training session will familiarize athletic trainers at Mercy Health’s partner schools with ImPACT’s neurocognitive assessment tools and services. These tools and services provide state-of-the-art best practices and help trainers make the right safe return to play decisions.”

“This vital training session, which takes place from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday, September 11 at the Anderson Center, is the largest ever training session of its kind to take place in Cincinnati,” said sports medicine specialist and orthopaedic surgeon Denver Stanfield, MD, of Mercy Health – Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine. “We are proud to sponsor an event that will benefit student athletes for years to come.”

Dr. Stanfield is the director of Mercy Health – Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine’s Robert Heidt, Sr. Foundation, which is sponsoring the training course. The training session builds on a grant the Cincinnati Bengals gave Mercy Health last year to provide ImPACT computerized testing to all of Mercy Health’s partner high schools.

That grant enabled the athletic trainers Mercy Health has in place at its partner schools throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to provide student athletes involved in collision or contact sports like football, soccer, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse with initial baseline testing. The web-based test looks at several factors, including reaction time, memory, brain processing speed and visual motor skills to determine if a student athlete has suffered a concussion.

Should a student athlete suffer a suspected concussion, Mercy Health will retest the student athlete post-injury and compare that score to his or her baseline score to determine if the student can return safely to participation in sports. Mercy Health athletic trainers repeat the ImPACT baseline test every two years. The testing and training described above is just one the many benefits Mercy Health provides its partner schools.