Parents, Athletes Question Concussion Program

Amanda Young and Jane Maiocco

A new concussion treatment program has been implemented for athletics, though the advanced software used to diagnose concussions been met with concern from athletes, parents and coaches.

The software is known as “ImPACT” (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), a series of computer-based tests designed to detect symptoms of a concussion. The ImPACT program administers both baseline concussion tests as well as post-concussion tests to athletes who have experienced head trauma.

Shannon Rogers, Campolindo’s athletic director, said that concussion testing via the ImPACT program is highly recommended by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), but not required. It is a passive consent program, meaning that a parent or guardian has the power to exempt their child from the testing.

Head football coach Kevin Macy said that they are still learning about program. However, he also expressed his doubts about its usefulness. “I can’t say what this software is designed to do. I don’t know if it can test for concussions…it’s probably something that, as a football coach, I don’t get involved in,” said the long-time varsity coach. “It’s more of an administrative, district level process.”

The fundamentals of the testing have been unclear to many athletes, which may be a reason for their apprehension in using it. Varsity football player Aaron Moranville said that he doesn’t plan on doing the testing because he wasn’t given a lot of information about it.

Varsity football player Grant Larsen said that he and many of his teammates have opted out of the testing because they would rather “stay with the way it has always been.”

“I had a concussion last year. Ray [athletic trainer] and Dr. Sproul [team doctor] took care of me just fine. I was able to get over it within a week or two,” Larsen said. “I just think that the whole ImPACT thing is unnecessary, if anything. It kind of gets in the way of Ray and Dr. Sproul doing their job.”

According to Larsen, the school failed to provide waiver forms to parents and guardians before their students took the test. Many parents were upset that they didn’t receive any notification prior to the testing.

Another concern is that students are not able to access their results directly. “When we asked [the person] who gave us the test for our results, they said that the results were going straight to the athletic director,” said varsity water polo captain senior Katie Klein, who hadn’t yet received her results.

Beyond those worries, however, Klein is glad that Campolindo finally has a concussion testing program. “With concussions, everyone is different, and when you play a sport that involves getting hit in the head with a ball or someone hitting you in the head, it’s definitely helpful to know how everyone differs with concussions,” Klein explained.