Who better to guide area high school athletes and their families through a concussion program than someone who’s gone through the testing and suffered a concussion himself? That person is Jonah Kratochvil, RiverView occupational therapist. Kratochvil recently became certified in the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) program used to determine if an individual has suffered a concussion.
A concussion is a minor traumatic brain injury that may occur when the head hits an object, a fall occurs, or a moving object strikes the head. It can affect how the brain works for a period of time. It can lead to headaches, changes in alertness, or loss of consciousness.
“As a former high school athlete, I suffered a concussion myself while playing hockey,’’ Kratochvil shared of his Red River (Grand Forks) Roughrider days. “ImPACT testing is something we did before each season, and I remember going through the testing prior to the season, as well as before I was cleared to return to play. While having gone through several ImPACT tests, when the opportunity came to be a part of the ImPACT Team at RiverView, I knew I wanted to join this program and assist others. I enjoy that I am able to assist with the preseason baseline testing and following-up with post-concussion testing if an athlete were to have concussion symptoms.’’
ImPACT has two primary uses:
- Before the onset of an activity - a computerized baseline test is conducted to measure the athlete’s performance baseline.
- In the event of an injury - a post-injury test is administered and compared to the baseline and/or normative data scores.
Comparing the baseline and post-concussion scores gives information about the severity of the concussion, providing valuable information to the athlete, parent, coach, athletic trainer, therapist, and physician. Results also shed light on academic deficits associated with a concussion. The ImPACT program is beneficial for safe return to play and return to school activities.
Studies show about 10 percent of all student-athletes in contact sports suffer a concussion during their season. Recovery may take days or weeks, with individuals often experiencing dizziness, headaches, double vision, memory loss, irritability, and depression.
RiverView’s ImPACT Team consists of Kratochvil; Rhonda Salentiny, physical therapist; and Alyssa Halley, speech therapist. Assessment for the program is done by Dr. Erik Kanten, RiverView Family Medicine provider. Currently, the RiverView Team does pre-sport baseline testing for high school athletes on teams for Crookston, Fertile-Beltrami, Red Lake Falls, and Stephen-Argyle.
It’s not only athletes who use the program. Testing is done for various reasons, including for employees who work in fields where a concussion is more feasible.
“The ImPACT program is beneficial to anyone who has suffered a concussion or injury to the brain,’’ Kratochvil reported. “Testing with the ImPACT program assesses memory, attention, reaction time, mental speed, visual memory, verbal memory, processing speed, and impulse control. The treatment for the ImPACT program following a concussion places heavy emphasis on improving visual and vestibular deficits. Through the ImPACT program, individuals can focus on retraining those visual and vestibular deficits to allow for a sooner return to play/work/school as well as engaging in other prior activities of daily living, all while working to decrease headache symptoms.’’
If you are interested in the ImPACT program, talk to your primary care provider or call RiverView’s Rehab Services Department at 281.9463 to learn more.
Pictured top: Jonah Kratochvil.
Pictured above, left to right: Kratochvil, MOTR/L; Rhonda Salentiny, MPT; and Alyssa Halley, CCC-SLP.