Michael Vick still can't pass the ImPACT test; and what is the ImPACT test?

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Michael Vick still has not passed the ImPACT and is unlikely to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. This would be the third consecutive game Vick misses.

In the past few weeks, the term "ImPACT test" has come up often -- mostly because Vick has yet to pass it. But to understand the context, team trainer Rick Burkholder explained the specifics of the computerized test that requires a player to reach a baseline.

That baseline is established in the summer, when the player takes the test will full cognitive function. The test is 25-30 minutes. In order to pass after a concussion, a player must reach the level they're at during the summer.  

Vick has apparently passed most the other stages of concussion recovery, but the ImPACT test remains an issue. Burkholder said it's not abnormal for the ImPACT test to be a hurdle for players. 

"We’ve had players in the past that have gotten through all five phases of the rehab, been cleared by our physician, basically – not cleared because he didn’t pass the ImPACT test – but he fulfilled all that and could not get back to baseline," Burkholder said. "Then, we went away for a trip and we came back and he fulfilled that obligation to get back to baseline. It happens, and that’s what’s great about the test."

Burkholder believes the test is a good indication of the player's cognitive function because of the specific questions.

"It’s sensitive enough that you know that they can’t fudge it," Burkholder said. "We’re dealing with symptoms and when we’re dealing with symptoms, the players have to tell me what they are and I have to believe them. On this ImPACT test, there’s enough sensitivity in the test that they can’t fudge it. They can’t get away [with it]. It’s matching and matching designs and looking at and recognizing colors and stuff like that that they can’t hide.”