ImPACT™ Baseline Concussion Testing

What is ImPACT™ Concussion Baseline Testing?

ImPACT™ stands for Immediate Postconcussion Assessment Cognitive Testing. The ImPACT™ baseline concussion test is a computer-based program designed for the management of sports-related concussions. It records an athlete’s health history and current symptoms, and measures cognitive functions. ImPACT™, tests children prior to a head injury to establish a baseline in cognitive functioning. Should he or she have a head injury later, the baseline can be compared to post-concussion testing and determine the severity of the injury. The program measure's multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes including:

  • verbal memory
  • visual memory
  • visual motor (processing) speed
  • reaction time
  • impulse control
  • cognitive efficiency

Should an athlete have a head injury later, the concussion baseline can be compared to post-concussion testing and determine the severity of the injury. The ImPACT™ baseline concussion test takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Pros and cons of baseline testing

There are many controversies and myths surrounding concussion and baseline testing, especially in children. One of the controversies is whether baseline testing should be performed at all for any youth athlete. There are many reputable pediatric concussion programs that do not use baseline testing. In cases of non-sports related concussion, which comprises the vast majority of concussions in kids younger than 18, children rarely have a baseline available, yet their concussions can be managed effectively without it. The other argument against testing is that the younger the child the less capable they are of producing reliable test results because they are easily distracted or fail to read and follow the instructions. To combat the latter problem and improve the likelihood of a valid baseline, Nicklaus Children's Hospital has trained proctors who are present for the test in order to make sure the child takes the test properly and that testing conditions are optimal.

ImPACT™ Baseline Pre-Concussion Testing Cost:
$15 per athlete

Who should NOT come in for baseline testing?

Most high school sports programs have well-established baseline and post-injury testing programs that are part of their concussion management protocol. These athletes should continue to get tested by their trainers. However, athletes who are in sports or activities and do not have access to baseline testing are invited to be tested and receive educational materials on concussion recognition and management.

Who is most likely to benefit from baseline testing?

Any child in middle school or higher who participates in sports and activities that places them at high risk for a head injury. Children who have had a prior concussion are at increased risk of subsequent concussions and would also benefit as long as they have fully recovered from the first. Nicklaus Children's Hospital has chosen middle school children as the main target population due to the lack of athletic trainers and available baseline testing in this age group. One of the myths about pediatric concussion is that younger athletes don’t run fast enough, or hit or get hit hard enough to get concussions. A recent study of middle school girl soccer players reported an incidence of concussion which was higher than both high school and college soccer players, and 30% of concussions were sustained while heading the ball. Over half of these girls continued to play with symptoms and only 44% sought medical attention of any kind. Clearly, greater awareness and education about concussion is needed, which is why, Nicklaus Children's Hospital provides children and parents with educational materials and recommendations if a concussion is suspected.

Why limit testing to middle school children and older?

The main reason for not testing very young children is the lack of a valid, reliable and developmentally appropriate computerized test for this age group. An exciting new test for children age 5-12 has recently completed beta testing and appears very promising. We hope to offer that test in the near future when it becomes available.

About the Concussion and Brain Injury Clinic

The Concussion and Brain Injury Clinic is a trusted resource for the prevention and treatment of brain injuries that provides:

  • baseline and post-injury ImPACT™ testing
  • neurologic evaluation and assessment of brain imaging needs (CAT Scan, MRI)
  • care plan for return-to-school with accommodations
  • guidance and supervision of return to physical activity
  • rehab therapy for physical, visual/ocular, vestibular and cognitive sequelae
  • clearance for return to contact sports
  • long-term management of post-concussion syndrome
Schedule ImPACT™ Testing

Service Locations

Nicklaus Children's Dan Marino Outpatient Center
2900 S. Commerce Parkway
Weston, FL 33331

Nicklaus Children's Doral Outpatient Center
3601 NW 107th Avenue
Doral, FL 33178

Nicklaus Children's Hospital Main Hospital Campus
3100 SW 62nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33155

Nicklaus Children's Miami Lakes Outpatient Center
15025 NW 77 Avenue
Miami Lakes, FL 33014

Nicklaus Children's Miramar Outpatient Center
12246 Miramar Parkway
Miramar Square
Miramar, FL 33025

Nicklaus Children's Palm Beach Gardens Outpatient Center
11310 Legacy Avenue
Legacy Place
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

Nicklaus Children's Sports Health Center
11521 South Dixie Highway
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Pinecrest, FL 33156

Nicklaus Children's West Kendall Outpatient Center
13400 SW 120th Street
Suite 100
Miami, FL 33186