What is a Baseline Test?

A Complete Concussion Management baseline test is a series of objective tests that are designed to measure all areas of brain function. Not all baseline tests are created equal, as not all baseline tests measure brain function so comprehensively. As an example, some baselines only use a computer test, which measures cognition. But what about strength, vision or balance? Often, these aspects of brain function are omitted, leaving you with an incomplete picture of brain function and thus an increased risk of returning to play too early. Preventing athletes from returning to play too early is the number one goal of a baseline test, and the Complete Concussion Management baseline test is designed to prevent that from happening.

A baseline test can also be used as a diagnostic procedure. Take a scenario where an athlete hits there head on the turf from a fall. They don’t lose consciousness, but they have a sore neck and complain of a headache. Does this athlete have a concussion? If an athlete loses consciousness, we can be sure there has been a concussion. But often an athlete does not lose consciousness, so then how do we know? There are no medical imaging tests that can detect a concussion either. If this athlete has a baseline test (which is always to be done when the athlete is healthy), they can redo their baseline test to see if there are any deficits in brain function. If they pass the test, we can assume that they did not suffer a concussion and they simply have a headache and a sore neck. If, however, they fail all or portions of the second baseline test, we can suspect that they have suffered a concussion and remove them from play to ensure their safety. Proper treatment can then be provided to help them recover, and the athlete is not cleared to play until they pass the baseline test again. This keeps the athlete safe, parents informed, and the coach and sporting organization involved free of any liability concerns. And since the baseline test is using objective data, and not subjective data such as how the athlete feels, we can be sure that the baseline test results truly represent recovery.

For more information about baseline tests, check out completeconcussions.com. To book a baseline test for yourself or a team, call PhysioActive at 778-478-7155 or email concussions@physioactivebc.ca. If you’re an athlete or a worker in a high risk environment, it’s the best health insurance you can buy.

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