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UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program Director Dr. Mark Lovell Is Keynote Speaker At South African Sports Conference

PITTSBURGH, February 23, 2006 — Mark R. Lovell, Ph.D. , director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Sports Medicine Concussion Program and developer of ImPACT ™ (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), is a keynote speaker at this year’s international Growing Sportsman seminar on Feb. 24 in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Dr. Lovell is a world-renowned sports concussion researcher who directs the neurocognitive testing programs for the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) and oversees the concussion testing for NASCAR, the Indianapolis Racing League, CHAMP Car and the U.S. Olympic Ski Team.

The Growing Sportsman seminar, expected to attract more than 700 attendees, is sponsored by Discovery SharkSmart, a South African sports organization aimed at making the sport of rugby safer and more fun at all levels. The program is designed to make parents, coaches, referees, educators and medical professionals aware of the safety issues involving sports participation and to promote the benefits of safe and enjoyable sports and exercise. Doctors and professionals from around the world will present lectures on keeping children safe while playing sports.

Dr. Lovell will be presenting a keynote lecture, “Clinical Management of Concussion in Children and Adolescents,” during which he will discuss ImPACT. ImPACT is widely used by athletes throughout South Africa, including rugby players in which concussions can be common. With more than 600,000 youth participants, rugby is one of the most popular contact youth sports in South Africa.

ImPACT is a computerized evaluation system to objectively assess the effects and severity of concussion and injury recovery progress and help determine when it is safe for the athlete to return to contact sports following a concussion.

With ImPACT, team athletic trainers and physicians can efficiently collect and store pre-season baseline data on the athletes’ neurocognitive functional state by having them take a 20-minute computerized test that measures brain processing, speed, memory and visual motor skills. This baseline session takes place prior to the beginning of the athletic season before any physical contact is sustained. If an athlete experiences a concussion during the season, he or she is re-tested and the baseline neuropsychological data is compared to post-concussion data to help determine the athlete’s post-concussion neurocognitive status and when it is safe for the player to return to active sports.

ImPACT is used by numerous teams in the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball (MLB); all MLB umpires; more than 200 colleges and universities and more than 600 high schools nationwide.

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