In recent years, awareness of the dangers of concussion have grown. Players, parents, coaches, and team management are rightly becoming more concerned about the risks for players, the clubs and their sport as a whole. Many sports place players at risk of concussion injury including AFL, rugby, soccer, basketball and many more. Managing concussion has become a priority.
One way of managing this risk is through so called “baseline” or pre-season concussion testing. This testing establishes what are your normal levels of function. Should you then suffer a concussion the results of the baseline concussion testing can be used to work out whether you are ready to safely return to sport.
Repeated concussions or so called “sub-concussive” events have the potential to place you at risk of further brain injury and conditions such as Alzheimer’s dementia and depression. The risk of further injury increases when you return to sport too soon.
Baseline Concussion Screening
Baseline testing is an exam done by a qualified health care professional pre-seasonally to assess your balance and brain function (including autonomic function, memory skills, concentration, problem solving). It is suggested that baseline testing should be done annually for adults and more often for children and adolescents. (Children and adolescents’ brains are developing and their function naturally improves, meaning their “normal” levels usually improve.)
How is the Baseline data used?
If you suffer a concussion, things like your balance and mental abilities often suffer. Thankfully, most people recover back to normal within a few weeks. However, some people don’t recover as they should and suffer ongoing problems like dizziness, headache, mental fogginess, poor concentration aversion to light and sound and much more. By comparing your post-concussion tests results with the pre-season results, better treatment plans can be produced.
In addition, you may appear to be fine after a concussion. However, comparing the post-concussion results against the pre-season results can reveal issues that not only mean you shouldn’t return to play, but that you might be at greater risk of other injuries as a result.
Accessing Baseline Concussion Testing
Finding a centre to get baseline testing done can be difficult for many players and teams. Thankfully, at Focal Allied Health we can do Baseline Concussion Testing for individuals and teams at an affordable rate. To enquire about testing for you or your team call 03 9034 7735 or click here to message us.
- Guskiewicz KM, Bruce SL, Cantu RC, et al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Management of Sport-Related Concussion. J Athl Train. 2004 Jul-Sep; 39(3): 280–297.
- King NS. Post-concussion syndrome: clarity amid the controversy? The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2003 Oct 1; 183(4):276-8.
- Sports Concussion Institute. Concussion Resources for Coaches and Athletic Trainers. Available from: http://www.concussiontreatment.com/forcoaches.html
- Centres for disease control and prevention. FAQs about Baseline Testing. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/baseline_testing.html