A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull.
This movement causes the brain to collide against the inside of the skull and causes swelling of the brain producing the symptoms of a concussion. Research has shown that a traumatic hit to the torso can cause sufficient force via whiplash to cause a concussion.
Why is Baseline Testing important?
Concussions can produce a wide array of symptoms, which poses a challenge for coaches, trainers, parents, and health professionals involved in the care of an injured athlete. The time-course for recovery also varies widely from athlete to athlete, making it impossible to employ a “cookie-cutter” approach to concussion rehab and return-to-play protocols.
A growing emphasis has been placed on objective baseline testing protocols that can be used to track an athlete’s recovery and serve as an objective measurement for return-to-play readiness. By measuring an athlete’s “normal” level of functioning, we are better able to gauge the level of impairment that may exist post-injury by performing comparative testing.
Our SPORTS THERAPY C.A.i.R.E. Team believes in a multifaceted approach and that no single test should be used in isolation.
- Neurocognitive Performance (imPACT Baseline Computer Test)
- Vestibular Balance and Postural Sway
- Visual Coordination and Occulomotor reflex
We carefully review and document previous concussive episodes and history of concussion-like symptoms to aid in development of individualized post-injury assessment and treatment protocols.
Baseline values can vary widely and in young developing athletes, these measures can change dramatically from year to year. It is important to record baseline values of physical and neurocognitive function before the start of each sports season. Should an athlete sustain a concussion during the season, C.A.i.R.E. practitioners have the ability to compare post-injury testing to baseline values. This allows for a more accurate and objective assessment and provides important information when making return-to-play decisions.
NeuroCognitive - imPACT Testing
Recent advancements in concussion management have resulted in the widespread use of computer-based neurocognitive testing protocols, and evidence now shows that concussed athletes demonstrate subtle cognitive deficits that may persist beyond symptom resolution – emphasizing the fact that return to play once “symptom-free” is no longer an accurate measure of readiness. impact Baseline Testing is available at SPORTS THERAPY C.A.i.R.E.
Computerized neurocognitive testing is part of all baseline and post-injury assessment protocols. This type of testing provides us with a snapshot of how an athlete’s brain is functioning both pre and post injury by measuring things like reaction time, processing speed, memory, and attention/concentration. These cognitive processes are often affected by concussive injury, therefore testing provides us with important information when managing an athlete’s recovery.
Note: computer-based neurocognitive tests designed for concussion assessment (eg. ImPACT) are invaluable tools that provide objective information on various aspects of neurocognitive performance; however these tests are not meant to replace a full neuropsychological assessment that would be provided by a qualified Neuropsychologist. When further comprehensive testing is required, a specialist referral may be indicated.