OrthoWashington Concussion Protocol


Concussions too often go unrecognized.

  • Many football players and other athletes do not report concussions due to lack of knowledge, failure to understand the risks, fear of letting their team down, or determination to play through any challenge or pain.
  • Concussions can be very difficult to fully recognize in the heat of a contest.
  • High school athletes are slower to recover from concussions than older players. A concussion may not be fully healed, even after an athlete thinks that symptoms are gone.
  • Players who return to contact before a concussion is fully healed run the risk of prolonging symptoms or even suffering catastrophic injury (Second Impact Syndrome).

The ImPACT program is a computerized neuro-cognitive test that provides a pre-impact cognitive baseline for athletes and is on the cutting edge of science in managing concussions. It is currently being used by the NFL and NHL, as well as many Universities, Colleges and High Schools in their goal of protecting their athlete’s central nervous system function of the brain, and help prevent Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) through ImPACT cognitive testing. Many of the NFL and NHL players in their 40’s and 50’s have developed CTE due in large part to the inability to manage multiple concussions at a young age. In addition, the brain does not fully develop the neurons until the age of 19, thus making the brain more susceptible and running the risk of having a “Second Impact Syndrome”, i.e., a concussion on top of a concussion and possibly developing CTE or other neurologic issues later in life.

Concussions are brain injuries and should be treated as a serious health problem for student athletes. They require early identification, careful evaluation and specialized management before students can return to school or activity. In some instances, a concussion can interfere with a student’s ability to do school work or even attend school for a short period of time. Dr. DePuydt and Washington Institute of Sports Medicine work with schools and teachers to help students manage that challenge.

As a full time Sports Medicine Physician for the past 42 years it is Dr. DePuydt’s goal to provide the highest quality of care to your sons or daughters and to return them to activity as soon as it is safely possible. As a Credentialed ImPACT Concussion Physician, he is able to utilize the most current scientific tools in the prevention of central nervous system problems. He has implemented the ImPACT Program at both Cedarcrest High School for the Riverview School District and at Interlake High School in the Bellevue School District this year, and is currently working with UFC and the State of Washington Athletic Commission to implement the ImPACT Program for all professional Boxing and MMA fighters.

Statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), estimates that as many as 3.8 million recreation and sports related concussions happen on a yearly basis in the United States. Of that, almost a full 50% of these concussions go unreported and untreated. Don’t let your student athlete become a statistic. Young athletes that return to active play too soon after concussion are at higher risk of additional brain injury. This can result in prolonged symptoms and possible permanent mental and physical disabilities for your child.

If your child plays sports, please call Washington Sports Medicine Institute today to schedule a baseline ImPACT Study at 425-820-2110. If you think your son or daughter has already sustained a concussion, call Dr. DePuydt at 425 820-1221 for a medical consultation and Mike Lewis for a repeat ImPACT test.

Concussion Protocol Program

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury and accounts for 9% of sports injuries. It is a disturbance in brain function that occurs following either a blow to the head or as the result of a violent shaking of the head. In addition younger athletes recover more slowly from a concussion and are more prone to recurrent concussions. Also, because a concussion is a metabolic rather than a structural injury, traditional neuro diagnostic techniques like CT and MRI are often normal following a concussion. However it should be emphasized that these techniques are invaluable in ruling out more serious difficulties, e.g. intracerebral bleeds, skull fractures as they may also occur with head trauma.

What symptoms indicate that an athlete has experienced a concussion?

The diagnosis of cerebral concussion can be tricky under the best of circumstances. There may be no direct trauma to the head and a concussed athlete is often not rendered unconscious. The athlete may be unaware that he or she has been injured and may not show any obvious signs of concussion such as clumsiness, gross confusion or obvious amnesia. To complicate the situation, research shows that athletes at all levels of competition may minimize or hide symptoms in attempt to prevent their removal from the game, thus creating a potentially serious injury. The signs and symptoms of concussions are variable, but they affect 4 primary areas of the brain: thinking and remembering, physical, emotional/mood and sleep disturbances.

ImPact Concussion Program Specifics - A Letter from Dr. DePuydt

The ImPACT Program is a computerized neurocognitive test and is, unequivocally, the most accurate and sensitive way of managing a concussion in an athlete. It consists of a 15-20 minute computerized baseline test given prior to the start of the athletic season and then repeated should an injury to the brain occur. A review and neurologic exam is then conducted during an office visit by Dr. DePuydt. Only after an athlete has returned to baseline, are they progressively returned to play.

The long term goal of the ImPACT program is to protect the brain and to help prevent chronic central nervous function problems such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Many of the NFL and NHL professional football and hockey players in their 40's and 50's have developed the syndrome of CTE. These athletes have experienced multiple concussions that were not managed scientifically as we did not have computerized neurocognitive testing. When a concussion is managed scientifically using the ImPACT Program, the probability of having a second impact syndrome, i.e. a concussion on top of a concussion should not occur.

My goal as a full-time Sports Medicine Physician of 42 years and Credentialed ImPACT Consultant is to offer the highest quality of care to your injured son or daughter, return them safely to activity and prevent any central nervous system problems. I am most concerned about the adolescent athlete, age 10-17, playing recreational soccer, football, lacrosse and hockey. This is a group of young boys and girls that have no athletic trainers or team physicians. In addition, the neurons in their brain do not fully develop until the age 19. The research also shows us that this age group is more susceptible to concussion and to recurrent concussions.

I have worked with several high schools and am the medical administrator for the ImPACT Program at Interlake High School and The Seattle Mist. I am presently working at the international level with the UFC, their 400 professional fighters and the State of Washington Athletic Commission to implement using the ImPACT Program for both professional boxing and MMA.

Therefore, it is very important that you contact Washington Institute of Sports Medicine at 425-820-2110 and request a baseline ImPact study for your son or daughter.

Thank you,

Thomas G. DePuydt, M.D.
Credentialed ImPACT Consultant


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