There has been a 60% increase in the estimated number of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI) seen among young athletes in the past decade according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can cause lasting effects on brain tissue and change the chemical balance of the brain. Even a small head injury should never be taken lightly. Concussion may cause physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms and problems, both short-term and long-term. Every person experiencing a concussion will exhibit its effects differently and the symptoms may take hours or days to show up.
What is concussion baseline testing?
Athletes of all ages should undergo annual concussion baseline testing prior to a sports season to aid in the return-to-play decision by your healthcare team. Comprehensive baseline testing includes assessment of cognitive functions, balance, and oculomotor functions in order to document the full functions of the brain. Our concussion team strongly believes that in order to fully treat all symptoms of a concussion you must have both cognitive and balance/vestibular data. An athlete may appear asymptomatic and even pass a computerized cognitive test, however, the lingering effects of a balance disturbance from head trauma would go otherwise undetected without a balance/oculomotor assessment.
We are taking a proactive approach in managing the devastating effects of concussion by partnering with local schools and medical professionals to offer comprehensive Concussion Baseline Testing, utilizing ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), Balance Error System Scoring (BESS), and the Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS). The purpose of our program is to establish and store a baseline of cognitive, oculomotor and balance functions prior to a sports season. In the event the athlete sustains a suspected concussion or other traumatic brain injury (TBI), the baseline results can be compared with performance after the injury.
This comparison helps to indicate any change in cognition, balance and oculomotor function and is an important tool in an overall concussion management program. Sharing results of pre- and post-inury testing aids your healthcare team in planning for all necessary therapies and treatments specific to the individual athlete and developing a comprehensive plan using efficiencies of time and resources for optimal results and returning to play safely. Returning too soon puts you at an extremely high risk for Second Impact Syndrome which can have tragic, life-long effects or lead to possible death.
You can read more about our Concussion Management Program and baseline testing program on our website.