Testing for a Concussion
At the Swedish Sports Concussion Clinic, we specialize in assessing sports concussion. Care is individualized and may include:
- Balance testing and evaluation of coordination
- Neurocognitive assessment (baseline and post-injury testing)
- Evaluation of your health history (past concussions, migraines, ADHD etc.)
- Ongoing monitoring of physical and cognitive activities
- Vestibular rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
- Cognitive rehabilitation/ memory and compensatory strategies
About baseline testing
The use of baseline neurocognitive testing helps assess changes in the brain after a concussion including memory changes, decreased reaction time, and attention difficulties.It can help inform us if the brain is still in recovery and provide us with objective and data-driven decisions. This information helps the clinicians track recovery of cognitive processes following a concussion, make decisions about academic needs, and determine when return-to-play is appropriate and safe. Using a computerized exam called ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), we are able to evaluate memory, reaction time and processing speed. Testing can be completed as early as 24-hours after the injury, or when the athlete appears to be symptom-free. This is the same test that is used in the NFL, NHL, MLB, and many college athletic programs. However, return-to-play decisions are not based solely on ImPACT test results; it is only one component of concussion management, and is used in conjunction with medical evaluation.
What is baseline testing and why do I need it?
Athletes take the test prior to the season and if the athlete is believed to have suffered a concussion, they re-take the exam. This helps to determine the extent of the injury and if the injury has healed. By comparing post-injury scores with the baseline, we can help determine the severity of the injury and better monitor recovery. Using ImPACT, we are able to establish a preseason baseline of cognitive abilities.
Does baseline testing need to be repeated?
Yes, it is recommended that baseline reassessments be repeated every two years due to developmental changes.
At what age can baseline ImPACT be completed?
Baseline testing is offered for individuals aged 12-59. Baseline testing can be completed as young as 10 years old, but it is recommended for individuals ages 12 and older due to the comprehension level needed for test instructions.
What if an athlete does not have a baseline?
In this instance, we provide the same testing and simply compare the athlete’s score to an average result sampling. While this is not ideal, we can still effectively manage the injury and monitor cognitive recovery.