Why the IM­PACT pro­gram?

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHA­KEEM HOL­LOWAY shol­loway@cov­news.com

Con­cus­sion man­age­ment is noth­ing new, but the re­cently an­nounced IM­PACT pro­gram is, at least for high schools.

“When we were re­view­ing the cur­rent pol­icy that’s in place for the New­ton school board and com­par­ing that to the manda­tory Ge­or­gia law that was put into ef­fect back in 2013 by Gover­nor Deal we no­ticed that it was pretty much the same thing,” Dr. Ryan Tom­lins said.

Tom­lins, who made the pre­sen­ta­tion along with Dr. Renee Ri­ley, have been work­ing with con­cus­sions for some time and de­cided to do more than what Gover­nor Nathan Deal’s bill dic­tates.

“Treat­ing con­cus­sions for a few years now, there are sev­eral other things that need to take place,” Tom­lins said. “So we wanted to not only have the min­i­mal re­quire­ments but we wanted to take things a step far­ther and add a lit­tle additional care to go above and be­yond the gen­eral re­quire­ments of the state to try to pro­vide even bet­ter care for ath­letes in New­ton County.”

Some of the things in the Ge­or­gia law — a.k.a the “Re­turn to Play Act” — that Tom­lins is re­fer­ring to do not out­line what type of physi­cian par­ents should take their chil­dren to see.

Ac­cord­ing to Tom­lins, some of the things that they have added are there to help bet­ter de­fine what they mean by health care provider. The bill states that you should see a physi­cian but they don’t say who you should see.

“You can go to any physi­cian or a health care provider. Just be­cause they’re a health care provider or a physi­cian doesn’t mean they have ex­pe­ri­ence with those kind of things,” Tom­lins said. “I think most people in the com­mu­nity would want their kids to go to some­one who does this ev­ery day, and keeps up with the re­search.”

“Most of the time kids are go­ing to re­quire about seven to ten days to com­pletely re­solve their symp­toms. That’s on aver­age, some might be less, some might be more,” Tom­lins said. “Most kids are go­ing to have about three to four days that they’re go­ing to need to be off from school be­cause of the lights, the sounds, study­ing. That stim­u­la­tion is a lit­tle too much for them with the con­cus­sion.”

Tom­lins said, “We wanted to im­ple­ment the grad­u­ated re­turn to play pro­to­col, which is a fivestep process that grad­u­ally in­creases ac­tiv­ity. Adds sports spe­cific drills with co­or­di­na­tion and then cul­mi­nat­ing with a full prac­tice prior to re­turn­ing to play.”

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