Concussion - Baseline Testing

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. Concussions can occur as a result of a blow to the head or after a whiplash-type injury. Some concussions may appear mild in their initial presenting symptoms but medical attention and evaluation is always recommended. Concussions can happen to anyone but for those who participate in sports, are at increased risk.

Concussion Symptoms

Symptoms typically vary depending on the injured person. It is a misnomer that all people will experience a loss of consciousness, only some do. Concussions affect everyone differently. Some experience symptoms right away, others may not develop symptoms for hours, days and in some cases, months following the injury.

Some signs of a concussion include:

  • loss of memory
  • slight to severe confusion
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • headaches
  • nausea (vomiting)
  • sensitivity to light
  • sensitivity to noise
  • inability to balance properly
  • slow reaction times

Baseline Testing

This is specialized testing that is conducted on athletes by a trained health care professional prior to the start of the sports season. Baseline tests are structured to assess an athlete's:

  • cognitive abilities (memory, concentration, problem solving)
  • strength
  • proprioception (balance & co-ordination)
  • reaction time skills

The results of this baseline testing are put in the athlete's file and during the sports season should there be a suspected concussion then the pre-season results are compared with the athlete's current state. Baseline testing generally takes place during the pre-season before the first practice.

How is Baseline Testing Information Used?

Should an athlete sustain an injury no matter how mild and a concussion is suspected, results from the baseline test can be referred to in order to better identify the effects of the injury. Comparing post-injury test results to baseline test results not only better assists qualified health care professionals in identifying the effects of the injury but it helps them immensely in making a confident and informed decision as to whether or not the athlete can resume playing. This is critical information to have so that the athlete does not resume play while suffering with concussion symptoms.

Frequency of Baseline Testing

When baseline testing is used, research states that this is a procedure that should be repeated once a year to establish valid test results for comparison. However, if an athlete has sustained a concussion there may be the need to have frequent neuropsychological testing to be on the safe side.

Components of Baseline Testing

A thorough baseline test must include a check for concussion symptoms, as well as cognitive, balance and strength assessments. Neuropsychological tests may also be included to better assess an athlete’s concentration, memory, and reaction time.

During the baseline pre-season test qualified health care professionals should be asking about any prior history of concussions. What is also very important is asking the athlete if there are any medical conditions that may affect recovery from a concussion such as mood disorders, anxiety, depression, history of headaches or migraines, learning disabilities or ADHD.

Chiro-Med Rehab Centre provides reliable baseline concussion testing with staff who are experts in interpreting test scores and analyzing data.

Baseline testing is a critical tool for anyone who likes to engage in sports on a regular basis. Not only does this test help in diagnosing a concussion but in the person's ability to safely resume playing their sport.

Established in 2007 by Dr. Behfar Sanjari, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has been committed to providing quality health care services to the Greater Toronto Area for over half a decade. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has qualified professionals who can help assess you if there is a suspected concussion and complete pre-season baseline tests. We have clinics located in Richmond Hill and Newmarket, visit Chiro-Med online or call 905-918-0419 or 905-235-2620 for more information.

December 29, 2015

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