Not all baseline tests are the same. Complete Concussion Management’s multimodal baseline test is a series of physical and cognitive tests that measures healthy brain function before or during a sports season. This includes nine assessments that measure medical history and symptom score, concentration and auditory memory, visual tracking and processing speed, reaction time, balance and proprioception, motor strength, and neurocognitive testing. As symptoms of concussion will often disappear days to weeks before the brain has fully recovered, having baseline information may provide healthcare practitioners with valuable information on brain recovery that may help to inform safer return to learn, work and play decisions.
There are varying views on the potential benefits of baseline testing for athletes that may differ by organization and/or country. Although not required for all athletes, several leading sports and public health organizations recommend and/or recognize the benefits of baseline testing for high-risk athletes, including the NCAA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine. Similar sentiment is included in the international Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport, which is recognized as the most current evidence to provide guidelines on the prevention, recognition, assessment, and management of sport-related concussion.
Lastly, a joint statement issued in September 2017 by Sport Physiotherapy Canada and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association reads: “Baseline testing is one tool that can be used to understand concussion, provided that the practitioners and consumers of these tests understand the limitations. What is clear, however, is the evidence related to a multi-facetted approach to assessment, diagnosis and management of concussion.”
We will continue to follow the growing scientific evidence for multimodal baseline testing to support the management, treatment and rehabilitation of concussion injuries, and revise our program accordingly. Currently, these practices are recommended in sports where athletes are at higher risk for concussion such as hockey, football, soccer, rugby, gymnastics and cycling, among others.
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