Why it is important to get a baseline test?
The first decisions made on the playing and practice field when a concussion is suspected can make the difference between a good outcome and a disaster. Concussion symptoms usually occur right after an injury, though some may not show for hours or days. This is why it’s important to check for signs of a concussion right after an injury occurs in order to monitor and assess when it’s safe to return to learn and play. Infants, children and people with previous concussions will have a longer recovery period and symptoms may last longer. There are numerous assessment tools to aid the diagnosis and recovery of a concussion, including baseline testing, symptom checklists, SCAT (Sports Concussion Assessment Tool), stability and neuropsychological tests. Baseline testing is a pre-season exam conducted by a trained health care professional which typically consists of a short computerized test that measures selected brain processes. Baseline testing is crucial in a concussion management program because it measures what we can’t see – cognitive (brain) function. If an athlete were to have a suspected concussion during a season, doctors can then perform an After Injury Test (which is identical to a baseline test) in order to compare results to help identify any cognitive changes. Computerized cognitive testing can also be used during management and treatment of a concussion even if a baseline test was not originally established. The changes and improvements in testscores over time can help determine the progress towards recovery.
What is the scat3?
Marque utilizes the SCAT3 which has been widely used in the industry since 2005 as a reliable sideline assessment to determine if a concussion has occurred. The SCAT3 is a standardized tool for evaluating injured athletes from ages 13 or older and a Child-SCAT3 is for evaluating children ages 5 to 12. It’s used to assess symptoms, memory, recall and gait. The SCAT3 can be administered by a licensed healthcare professional on the sidelines, athletic trainer or doctor’s office once an athlete has been pulled off the court or field because of a suspected concussion. Cognitive and physical rest is essential for concussion management because stress and activity may exacerbate symptoms and delay a full recovery. After symptoms have ceased, postural and cognitive testing (within the SCAT3) can confirm that the athlete has recovered completely. Athletes shouldn’t return to play until they are free of medications that can mask symptoms of a concussion and have recovered fully from the brain injury.
CONCUSSIONS: MYTHS and FACTS
Myth: Helmets can protect against concussions
There is no helmet available that is concussion-proof
Myth: I didn't get hit on the head, so there's no way I have a concussion
A hit does not have to be directly to the head in order to result in a concussion
Myth: As long as I stay out of sports until I am better, I can do anything else
Concussions require mental and physical rest, beyond avoiding the activity where the concussion occurred
Myth: As long as I rest, it is not necessary to see a doctor
Concussions are injuries – they are best treated by a physician with experience
Myth: If I wasn't knocked out, I probably don't have a concussion
Concussions do not always include a loss of consciousness and symptoms can take time to emerge