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Why the IMPACT program is important
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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 five-step process that gradually increases activity. Adds sports specific drills with coordination and then culminating with a full practice prior to returning to play.”