Making an ImPACT: How Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing Became a Standard in Sport
This paper evaluates how the Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) system became a standard in the NCAA from its release in 2001 to today. ImPACT is acomputerized neurocognitive testing system that physicians use in assessing and managing concussions. Sociological study often discusses the creation of standards in a broad sense. This paper focuses expressly on the creation of a particular standard in a particular context: ImPACT in the NCAA. The effort, tinkering, reformulation, and doubt that surrounds the creation of a standard is often forgotten once that standard is accepted. This paper unearths the process necessary to establish ImPACT as a standard. It evaluates primary evidence from international conferences on concussion in sport, national medical organization position statements on concussion, and the NCAA’s guidelines to concussion management. Support from powerful institutions, technological expertise, and monetary and practical impetus promoted ImPACT as the standard for concussion assessment in the NCAA.