Concussion Management and Baseline Testing
Concussions have recently become a highly researched area within the medical field and thus our understanding and approach to concussion management is constantly evolving. Our comprehensive concussion management program offers the most up to date treatment techniques and diagnostic tools to help guide our patients in return to school, sport, or work and normal functioning.
Concussions are often referred to as “the invisible injury” and hence often go unreported, undiagnosed and untreated. Therefore, the three keys to our concussion management program are education, accurate diagnosis, and post injury care.
Education is essential throughout the injury process for both the injured individual as well as family.
We also offer educational services or talks to organizations seeking to enhance their knowledge and safety in regards to concussion management.
In sport, concussions are notoriously difficult to recognize for trainers, coaches, and parents. Furthermore, there is often confusion on when it is safe for an athlete to return to sport and school. Each individual is different and the deficits they experience also varies as does the timeline for recovery. Baseline testing is used to measure what is “normal’’ for an athlete prior to competition and injury. Establishing a baseline for athletes allows for much more accurate diagnosis by clearly identifying the areas in which the patient is struggling. The baseline also aids in the post injury care as it can be used to assess when it is safe to return to sport.
Our baseline testing program uses a variety of measures to ensure the highest level of accuracy including:
- Neurocognitive testing: The ImPACT test is the most widely used and studied computerized concussion assessment tool. The test looks at a number of various neurocognitive functions that are commonly affected by concussions including reaction time, visual and verbal memory, and speed of visual processing.
- Physical Exam: The visual and vestibular systems are often affected following injury and can be a source of continuing symptoms therefore we perform a brief physical assessment to rule out any pre-existing visual or vestibular issues and screen for neck pain or dizziness.
As balance is also often affected each player also completes a standardized balance test.
Post Injury Care
Concussion management has rapidly evolved over recent years and requires a customized treatment plan for each individual.
Our post injury management involves
- Education and guidance through the initial rest stages and return to work / school.
- Physiotherapy and/or chiropractic care for secondary conditions such as whiplash or neck pain
- Visual and vestibular rehabilitation
- Advice regarding safe return to sport