What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a form of brain injury resulting from a direct or indirect blow to the head, face, or jaw causing an alteration in brain function. Concussions can produce a wide array of symptoms which pose a challenge for coaches, trainers, parents, and health professionals involved in the care of an injured athlete. The time-course for recovery also varies widely from athlete to athlete, making it impossible to employ a "cookie-cutter" approach to concussion rehabilitation and return-to-participation timelines.
For this reason, a growing emphasis has been placed on objective pre-participation (or "baseline") testing protocols that can be used to track an athlete's recovery and serve as a tangible measurement for return-to-play. Pre-participation testing requires a multifaceted approach. Baseline Testing is a vital component to the proper management and rehabilitation of concussive injuries.
Recent advancements in concussion management and research have resulted in the widespread use of computer-based cognitive testing protocols, and evidence now shows that concussed athletes demonstrate subtle cognitive deficits that may persist beyond symptom resolution - emphasizing the fact that return-to-participation once "symptom-free" is no longer an accurate measure of readiness. However - proper administration of neurocognitive testing requires adequate supervision and test interpretation by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Computerized neurocognitive testing is a well established and recommended component of both baseline and post-injury concussion management protocols and is designed to assess a variety of performance factors including:
Remember, neurocgnitive testing is just one important piece of the overall concussion management strategy.
Additional and recommended pre-season testing procedures include an assessment of balance, and visual function. Concussions often take a considerable toll on balance and visual coordination.
Obtaining both baseline and post-injury performance values provides objective information when determining an athlete's readiness to return to sport.
After Injury Care
Athletes with a suspected concussion should seek medical assistance immediately by a qualified Physician (eg. Family or Sport MD). The second step is to book an initial assessment at our office. Even if you have not had a baseline assessment, we will assess your injury and provide you with a management strategy to aid in your recovery.
Recovering from a concussion can be a difficult and frustrating time. We understand that each athlete is affected differently and as such, requires individualized care. The below management strategies are used to limit the amount of impairment as well as expedite recovery as much as possible.