Joe Mauer's final hurdle, ImPACT tests, as explained by Ryan Doumit
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The current concussion protocol in Major League Baseball calls for players to be able to pass ImPACT testing before returning to action.
Each player takes an ImPACT test in the spring to establish a baseline, and that baseline must be met for a player to regain clearance after sustaining a concussion.
In other words, that's essentially what's between Joe Mauer and being activated from the disabled list.
But what's unclear to most, is what exactly the ImPACT test entails.
According to catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit and general manager Terry Ryan, it's a 20-25 minute test taken on a computer that tests a bevy of different things, ranging from memory to reaction to motor skills.
And it's a difficult test.
"It's a bunch of memory and reaction time stuff," Doumit said. "It tests your motor skills. How quick you react to things coming at you. It's pretty difficult without a concussion. Then you throw a concussion in the mix, and it's very difficult."
And unfortunately, Doumit would know. Not only has he had two concussions that required disabled list stints in the past four years, he's also missed games in that time frame after taking shots off the helmet when he was catching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Doumit laid out exactly how the test is conducted. But unlike most tests, studying won't do one bit of good.
"For example, they give you 25 words that flash on the screen," Doumit said. "You have to remember them. Then right after that they have you count down from 25 to 1 as quick as you can. Then you have to go back and remember all 25 words they just showed you. It's not easy."
The player doesn't get an immediate grade of pass or fail, either. The computer eventually tabulates and spits out the results, which are read by a team physician.
Doumit concluded with a bit of a public service announcement.
"I would recommend anyone who gets a chance to do the test to do it just to try it out for themselves. It's not an easy test."