If you have a student athlete in the house and they play a contact sport you know they are at risk of getting a concussion. Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center not only understands that risk, they wanted to prevent serious long-term damage from repeated head injuries by buying an online test to prove the athletes were ready to return to play.
It was during the Minnesota High School Hockey game on December 17th in Marshall. The Tigers were taking on Redwood Valley when #3 Senior Forward Jamie Linstrom took a fluke hit to the head that ended up taking him out of the game for weeks.
Jamie says, "I was skating in to "check" a guy after the puck was dropped and instead I took his elbow to the top of my head. I went down on a knee, I don't remember much because I had significant memory loss, but I got to the bench by crawling off. Charlene (the athletic trainer) took my stick away and started asking me questions. I don't remember any of that."
Jamie had just suffered his first concussion.
Jamie says, "I knew I wasn't right because I wasn't able to stand up straight."
Avera Marshall purchased ImPACT computer software in November. Athletic Trainer Charlene Ackerman ran Jamie through the brain function test before the season started and several times after his concussion. His results showed that Jamie needed to stay off the ice for 3 weeks. Before Marshall got this program, the standard bench time after concussion was a week.
Dr. John Kemp is an orthopedic and sports medicine specialist with Avera Marshall. He says, "The beauty of this test is that it's objective not subjective. It is helpful when treating and diagnosing concussion because it is such a subjective injury this adds some objectivity to that."
Before any athlete at Marshall High School puts there hand on a basketball, volleyball, football, softball or tennis ball they put their hands on the computer to take the impact test to get a baseline score to compare against if they get injured.
Jamie's dad Steve Linstrom says, "You always have that thought in the back of you head. You don't want your kid to get hurt. But it's difficult because it's Jamie senior year and he is really serious about hockey. He wants to be out there playing. It's nice to have this test that says when he should be out their playing."
Unfortunately, head injuries are part of the game. Thankfully with ImPACT going back in before your brain is ready doesn't have to be.
Dr. Kemp really pushed to get the ImPACT computer program for the high school. He says the biggest thing that impedes concussion recovery is return to play and classroom too soon.