All athletes who sustain a concussion-no matter how minor-should undergo an evaluation by a qualified healthcare provider before returning to play. Athletes can return to play after they are completely free of all symptoms of a concussion and remain symptom free during and after physical testing.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine if the brain has healed from a concussion; even after all symptoms have resolved, healing may not be complete. Neurocognitive testing can be a very helpful tool in determining brain function. With a comparison to a baseline test, this evaluation can be used in conjunction with a physician's examination to reduce future risks.
Baseline testing collects data on an athlete's cognitive and physical abilities prior to suffering the concussion. Baseline testing can include a neurocognitive evaluation (usually by computer) that tests multiple areas of brain function, including memory, problem solving, reaction times, and brain processing speeds. Symptom checklists, sideline assessment tools such as the Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT), and balance testing are other examples of baseline evaluations that may be helpful.
Back to top