Mark Lovell, Ph.D. – ImPACT Applications (Concussion Baseline Testing)

by Amy Goodwin on December 8, 2013

After reading League of Denial, I reached out to several of the doctors mentioned in the book. Mark Lovell, Ph.D. was quick to answer and willing to speak to me. Mark Lovell is a neuropsychologist. I refer my students to neuropsychologists on occasion. They are usually graduates of clinical psychology Ph.D. programs, and neuropsychology is their specialty. Neuropsychologists are big testers. They can assess emotional functioning, executive functioning and intelligence/cognitive functioning. Their tests usually last for hours. When students go, I tell their parents to plan on their child missing a whole day of school. Parents can pay several thousand dollars for these assessments.

When neurpsychologist Mark Lovell was approached in the early 1990’s by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Maroon, he knew he didn’t have a day to test the football players. He borrowed from existing neuropsychological tests and research and created a paper/pencil test that could be administered in twenty minutes during the heat of the game. Maroon and Lovell were allowed to baseline test 27 Pittsburgh Steelers in 1993. The NFL eventually hired Lovell and put him in charge of neuropsychological testing for the entire NFL. Over the years Lovell hired a software developer to computerize the test. Twenty years later, given the preponderance of concussions laws emerging from each state, (Texas HB 2038 concussion law was effective June 2011), Lovell’s ImPACT tests are being rolled out to many middle schools and high schoolers across the nation.

Have a listen as Mark and I discuss the testing, technology, and challenges faced as public schools rush to respond to concussion laws in hopes of better insuring player safety.

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