Maggie Palmer, a rising senior who plays basketball and soccer at Regina, is a skeptic of imPACT testing. She said the test is difficult, even without concussion symptoms, and some athletes sometimes are scared to alert trainers when injured for fear of failing it.
New Trier athletic trainer Dale Grooms said the test can be challenging, even with a healthy brain. He said it’s not uncommon for athletes to experience anxiety before and during the test, which could adversely affect their baseline scores. Grooms said that when New Trier first considered imPACT testing a team doctor commented on how hard the test was for him.
Palmer said she could take the test 10 times in a row without a concussion and pass it half of the time.
“It’s tricky, and you can make stupid mistakes,” said Palmer, who lives in Glenview and established her baseline score her freshman year. “I feel like in theory it’s a good idea because you can’t always take an athlete’s word for it. But I do think it makes players not want to see a trainer.”
Palmer was concussed April 2 while playing sweeper for the Panthers girls soccer team. She said she failed one section of the test and had to wait another 48 hours to take it again. She passed the test the second time she took it, but she had to wait another three days to return to action.
Loyola athlete Owen Buscaglia also has suffered a concussion, getting knocked out during a football game in seventh grade. However, the soon-to-be senior receiver and basketball player said he’s in favor of anything that can prevent or help heal a brain injury.
“Going through that experience, I definitely am not complaining about getting tested,” said Buscaglia, a Chicago resident. “It’s not foolproof, but I think it’s beneficial. I have no problem with it, and I am a supporter of it.”