The FDA has approved the marketing of a medical device that helps assess an athlete’s mental functioning after a possible concussion. The new ImPACT tool should help coaches make more informed on-the-spot decisions regarding their athlete’s head injuries.

The way ImPACT works is all athletes are given a baseline test at the start of the season. Then, if a concussion is suspected, a followup test is performed that is instantly compared with the baseline test.

You would think if there were even the slightest possibility that an athlete had a head injury, he or she would be pulled from practice or play until a medical evaluation could be performed. But I was at a high school football game last year where the coach sent a player back into a game who was disoriented after being nocked nearly unconscious during a previous drive.