Why Do Athletes Need A Concussion Baseline Evaluation?
Having a movement based baseline concussion evaluation is like having insurance. As a preventative measure, these baseline tests are typically taken prior to a sport season when an athlete has not yet had exposure to training and/or competition. In the event of a concussion is received during the season, the same tests ("post-injury") is taken again by the athlete, yielding comparative scores from before and after the injury.
A movement based baseline concussion evaluation is an important piece to complete concussion management program. Each concussion is unique, so it is important to treat individuals on a case-by-case basis. Comparing post-injury test scores of an individual to their own baseline test scores from before the concussion is considered “best practice”. Without a baseline test to use for comparison, an individual's post-injury information can only be compared to the general population. Whenever possible, you want to compare apples to apples, and baseline concussion evaluations allow medical professionals to do just that. Also, because baseline testing usually occurs early in the season, the very act of getting tested will raise concussion awareness for athletes, parents, and coaches.
Many youth and high school sporting organizations have now mandated their athletes take a movement based concussion baseline evaluation so that medical staff can best manage their concussion injuries. By taking this step, these organizations are making a critical decision and stance that they will not allow their athletes to return to play before they are confident that they have fully healed from their concussion injury.
A movement based concussion baseline test for athletes should be repeated annually. An annual baseline test provides more up-to-date information.