ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing):

Sanford Vermillion in partnership with Dakota Hospital Foundation is now making available ImPACT baseline and post injury cognitive assessments for Vermillion High School and Elk Point-Jefferson High School athletes.

Amy Richardson, Athletic Trainer instructs Vermillion High School athletes as they prepare for a 20-minute ImPACT session.

ImPACT testing for local athletes came about as the result of an Employee Idea Challenge submitted by Amy Richardson, athletic trainer at Sanford Vermillion. Each year, Dakota Hospital Foundation hosts the Employee Idea Challenge program which encourages employees of Sanford Vermillion to propose a project that would identify and fulfill an unmet need at Sanford Vermillion or in the community. Richardson received Honorable Mention recognition for her project proposal to offer ImPACT testing locally.

DHF and Sanford Vermillion committed to provide the ImPACT testing in Vermillion and Elk Point-Jefferson. Through their generosity, all athletes in these two districts will receive the testing free of charge. Ongoing testing for new students will be made available each year. Sanford Vermillion also provides sports medicine and athletic training services each school year at both high schools.

ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the first, most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT is a 20-minute test that has become a standard tool used in comprehensive clinical management of concussions for athletes of all ages.

Given the inherent difficulties in concussion management, it is important to manage concussions on an individualized basis and to implement baseline testing and/or post-injury neurocognitive testing. This type of concussion assessment can help to objectively evaluate the concussed athlete's post-injury condition and track recovery for safe return to play, thus preventing the cumulative effects of concussion. In fact, neurocognitive testing has recently been called the "cornerstone" of proper concussion management by an international panel of sports medicine experts.

ImPACT can be administered by an athletic trainer, school nurse, athletic director, team coach, team doctor, or anyone trained to administer baseline testing. ImPACT is the most widely used computer-based testing program in the world and is implemented effectively across high school, collegiate, and professional levels of sport participation.

Richardson and Matt Marx, AT at EP-J are in the process of administering ImPACT. Eighty-seven athletes participated in the baseline testing the week of Aug. 8 with additional sessions were held the week of Aug 15.

The sports included for 9th through 12th grade are football, volleyball, varsity softball, and varsity girls and boys soccer.

Testing will take place again later in the year for those athletes not yet tested for winter and spring sports.

"It is a great opportunity for Vermillion football players to take advantage of the cutting edge ImPACT program. This tool will give us a definitive evaluation of our athletes injury so we can have them return to playing at the correct time," said Gary Culver, head coach of the Vermillion High School Tanager football team.

Dakota Hospital Foundation and Sanford Vermillion are very proud to once again demonstrate our commitment to preventative healthcare for our communities. Concussion protection for youth sports is a natural offspring of our existing sports medicine program, said Mary Jo Olson, MD, medical director, Sanford Clinic Vermillion.

About Dakota Hospital Foundation

Since its beginning in 1930, Dakota Hospital Foundation has fulfilled a mission dedicated to community health and wellness. The health care pioneers who established Dakota Hospital Foundation (DHF) also nurtured a tradition of community health service leadership represented by today's Foundation members.

About Sanford Vermillion

Sanford Vermillion, a medical facility including a family medicine clinic, 25-bed acute care hospital, 66-bed nursing home, and 23-unit senior living apartment complex in southeast South Dakota, is a member of Sanford Health, a non-profit, integrated health system headquartered in Fargo, ND and Sioux Falls. Sanford Clinic Vermillion is served by three family medicine physicians, a general surgeon, three mid-level providers and a number of visiting physician specialists.

To learn more about Sanford Vermillion, visit

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