Ploch named to Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force VERNON Vernon Township High School’s athletic trainer Joanne Ploch has been appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to the New Jersey Special Education and Traumatic Brain Injury Aware Task Force. Ploch has been an athletic trainer and health and physical education teacher at Vernon Township School District since 2004. She is also a former executive council member of the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey, and brings more than 20 years of experience in the fields of athletic training, sports medicine and education. The task force was created in 2009 and subsequently signed into law in January of 2010. The primary charge of the Task Force is to both develop best practices and processes for education professionals working with students with a traumatic brain injury and address the needs of students with a traumatic brain injury. Additional responsibilities the body is tasked with: studying and evaluating practices for recognizing and educating children with a traumatic brain injury of all types ranging from mild to severe; preparing students with a traumatic brain injury for entry into college or the work force; and examining how current statutes and regulations affect students Vernon on its game Vernon Township High School has been using a neurocognitive testing program for several years called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). It is a computerized test that is given to all athletes regardless of their sport. Each athlete completes a baseline test prior to their first practice. This score is unique to them. If that student-athlete should receive a mild traumatic brain injury, or a concussion, during their season they are managed by the athletic training staff and their medical doctor. Once they become asymptomatic they are given an ImPACT post-injury test. The baseline test and post-injury tests are compared. Sometimes athletes are asymptomatic but their brains have not yet completely healed. This is something a neurocognitive test, like ImPACT, is able to detect. This test, along with physical assessments and observations are used to determine when the athlete is really ready to safely return to activity. ImPACT was developed by a group of doctors in Pittsburg in the early 1990s. It is currently the most widely used computer based neurocognitive test used in concussion management. About the task force The New Jersey Special Education and Traumatic Brain Injury Aware Task Force consists of 18 members; the Commissioners of Education and Human Services, or their designees, who serve ex officio. The members include a representatives from the Department of Education, Department of Human Services, Department of Health and Senior Services, the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey, two parents of children who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, two pediatric rehabilitation professionals with knowledge of traumatic brain injury, one school social worker, one school nurse, one special education teacher, one director of special education services for a school district and one representative of the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey.