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Baseline Concussion Testing

Baseline Concussion Testing

Lawrence Park Health Clinic’s awesome physiotherapist, Clarence, wrote a 3-part series on concussions and concussion management – you can read that here. I wanted to add some information on concussion testing and the importance of getting things going before the season starts in your sport of choice.

Concussions are tricky things to diagnose and monitor since there is currently no imaging modality that can show the damage to the brain. Instead, we have to rely on clinical signs and symptoms. Knowing an athlete’s baseline is extremely helpful so that a coach, trainer, or medical professional can see the differences in status pre-injury, at the time of injury and during the recovery process.

The most commonly used method for baseline concussion testing is the SCAT3 (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool). It is best used when the athlete is assessed prior to the start of the season to get a baseline score and then reused on the sideline when the athlete suffers a blow to the head. The tool is used continuously during the recovery and rehabilitation process as an outcome measure of where the athlete is compared to their baseline prior to injury. The SCAT3 is used to assess cognitive functions and certain signs and symptoms associated with concussions. It also consists of short memory tests, an orthopedic evaluation of the neck and tests for balance and coordination.

If we don’t have the baseline value prior to injury, it is difficult to know at what point the athlete is back to their old self. You can access the SCAT3 easily online: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/47/5/259.full.pdf. However, it is best if it is done by someone who knows how to administer the test properly.

If you have any questions about concussions or would like to get you or your team tested, please book in with your north Toronto chiropractor, physiotherapist, or athletic therapist at Lawrence Park Health Clinic. We would be happy to get you prepared for your upcoming season in sport!

You can book in by calling 416-486-6662 or online by clicking here!

Author: Dr. Allie Dennis, B.Sc. Kin (Hons.), D.C., CSEP-CPT, SFMA
Toronto Chiropractor | Personal Trainer | SFMA Practitioner
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