Concussion Management/Baseline Testing
Baseline testing is a pre-season exam conducted by a trained health care professional. Baseline tests are used to help assess an athlete’s balance and brain function (including postural control, learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly he or she thinks and solve problems), as well for the presence of any concussion symptoms. Results from baseline tests (or pre-injury tests) can be used and compared to a post head injury exam conducted by a health care professional during the season if an athlete has a suspected concussion to make better return to play decisions.
Baseline testing should take place during the pre-season—ideally prior to the first practice. Baseline assessment is suggested for athletes ages 10 years and older and should be taken annually to every two years.
The Rule of Three:
Current best practice recommendations from the NCAA® and NATA® regarding concussion management programs recommend utilizing a combination of three elements in baseline and post injury testing:
a detailed review of symptoms
neuro-physical balance assessments
According to Jacob Resch, PhD, ATC, at the University of Texas Arlington, when these assessments are delivered separately, each possesses only 60-80% sensitivity. However, when delivered together,
sensitivity is greater than 90%. *
At Transitions Physical Therapy we utilize the Biodex Concussion Management Program for balance testing coupled with neuro-cognitive testing and Play it S.A.F.E.programming.