So You Think You Have a Concussion - The Importance of Baseline Testing
This is the second installment in a series of blog posts where Certified Athletic Therapist - Alex Barton and Certified Craniosacral Therapist - Liw Bringelson discuss concussions, and explain what we can do to help before and after your concussion.
As discussed in the previous Blog (click here), concussions are difficult to diagnose and are diagnosed through symptoms. Hence, having a snapshot of the brain’s ability to think and function, before an injury is vital. You can do this by having your child or yourself participate in a baseline test before engaging in physical activity or sports.
If you or your child is diagnosed with a concussion, the testing can be repeated, and the post-injury results can be compared with the baseline, to support rehabilitation and return to activities of daily living and play.
What is Baseline testing?
A baseline test is a test that is taken before any concussion, activity or treatment has occurred. Baseline testing data is valuable in determining the athlete’s’ pre-injury (normal) level of cognitive functioning. It is a tool in our toolbox which we feel is part of an effective concussion management program because it measures what we can’t see – cognitive (brain) function.
Are you or your children engaged in contact sports? Many sports have opportunities for significant contact with other players or parts of the field of play which may result in a potential traumatic brain injury (TBI), like a concussion. For example:
Hockey - Other players, sticks, pucks, boards, ice;
Football - Other players, helmets, ground;
Alpine skiing - Other skiers, trees, rocks, ice;
Equestrian sports - Horses, jumps, ground.
Remember that the faster an athlete is moving, the greater the force transferred inside the skull when it comes to an abrupt stop due to a collision.
Alex Barton, Athletic Therapist, has completed specialized training through the The Shift Concussion Management Program (SCMP) which allows her to properly assess concussions, interpret results and rehabilitate. The SCMP uses ImPACT (https://www.impacttest.com/) as part of the testing after an individual sustains a concussion. This is a type of neurocognitive testing done using a computer to test word memory, visual memory, verbal memory, visual motor speed and reaction time. This testing suite helps to record neurocognitive function.
At Synergy Health and Wellness, Alex can also administer a full battery of tests that include visual coordination, balance and vestibular testing.