Impact Concussion Program

This fall, Deer Lodge Medical Center and the Powell County Medical Foundation teamed up to begin a new Impact Concussion Screening Program for athletes in the junior high and high school in Deer Lodge. The goal of the concussion program is to test, educate and protect our student athletes from concussions. A similar program was recently started in larger high schools in Missoula as a way to prevent further harm to student athletes after a concussion.

Prior to the athletic seasons, Deer Lodge Medical Center’s physical therapist and physicians went to the local high school and junior high to conduct impact baseline tests on student athletes. The test is designed to measure an athlete’s short and long term memory, visual motor speed and reaction time. In the event that an athlete suffers a concussion, a post-injury test is then conducted. The results of the post-injury test are compared to the results of the baseline test to determine the degree of impairment suffered due to the concussion. The test results give medical professionals another tool to use to help determine when it is safe for an athlete to return to play.

Along with the physical testing, the concussion program also works to educate all students, athletes, coaches, teachers and parents about concussions; the signs and symptoms, what can happen to a student if they return to a sport too soon after a concussion and the typical protocol for athletes to follow post-concussion before returning to a sporting activity.

This first year of the Impact Concussion Program was extremely successful. 87 different student athletes from Powell County High School and Junior High received baseline tests prior to the athletic season. During the season, 7 of those student athletes experienced concussions that then received a post-injury test. The post-injury tests were a vital tool for the physicians to help determine when it was safe for the athlete to return to the sporting event. Through the program, all concussion tests were given free of charge to students.

It is very important for athletes, parents and coaches to know the signs and symptoms of concussions and that anyone with a suspected concussion is evaluated by proper medical providers before returning to play.

The physical therapy department at Deer Lodge Medical Center also provides:

  • free balance assessments to anyone
  • free injury prevention screens for athletes
  • free injury evaluation and one additional follow-up visit free of charge

If anyone has questions about the Impact Concussion Program or physical therapy services at Deer Lodge Medical Center, please call our physical therapist, Jenn Lorengo at 846-1991.