What is a concussion baseline test at STRIDE?
It is a comprehensive test performed BEFORE a concussion happens in order to determine what an athlete’s brain function is without an injury present. So, if an athlete does get a concussion, their post injury state can be compared to their baseline values to help make an accurate diagnosis and to determine when they are fully recovered and safe to return to school and their sport. Without this baseline information, we have no real way of knowing when the brain has fully recovered.
There is no x-ray, MRI, or brain scan that can detect a concussion let alone tell you when you have fully recovered. (2) This is where the importance of the baseline test comes in. It is essentially the first, and most important step, in managing a concussion properly.
But I feel fine! Why can’t I play yet?
It is widely shown in the concussion research literature that just because an athlete feels fine, it doesn’t mean that all their systems have returned to normal following a concussion. They can still have significant deficits in brain energy levels, reaction time, cognitive function, neuropsychological testing, physical capacity, and yet be free of symptoms. (2)
The initial concussion is generally not a large concern, especially since our Complete Concussion Management certified STRIDE practitioners are highly trained to treat and manage these injuries. However, it is a second concussion, sustained prior to full recovery of the initial concussion, that is a cause for concern as this may result in long term brain damage or other larger consequences. (1,3,4)
One of the largest problems in concussion management, is that athletes often present to the ER or their healthcare provider following a concussion and are simply told to “take it easy for a little while” and are given no further concrete advice, explanation, or follow up options. This, sadly, places the athlete at extreme risk of suffering serious brain injury should they get another concussion during this critical period.
The STRIDE practitioners will work together with your health care team – your safety is our number one priority!
What is involved with getting concussion baseline tested at STRIDE?
The athlete will perform a battery of tests to measure all areas of brain functioning that could potentially become affected in a concussion. This testing will be done when the athlete is healthy PRIOR to starting their season. Areas of testing include immediate and delayed memory recall, concentration, visual processing/tracking, reaction time, balance, proprioception, motor strength, and neuro-cognition. Once all this information is collected, it is saved on a secure national network and can be retrieved in the event of a concussion in order to ensure a return to sport is recommended only once full brain recovery has occurred.
Complete Concussion Management Inc.(CCMI) is a national network which means that even though you can be tested here at home with us at STRIDE, your information is always with you. For example, if you happen to get a concussion while out of town on the road, you can walk into any other CCMI accredited clinic in the country (there’s lots of us!) and have your personal information brought up from within the network so that you are always compared to your own baseline values regardless of where you are.
What about the online testing some organizations use as baseline testing? How is this different?
In short, proper baseline testing involves more than just online or computerized neuro-cognitive testing (ie: Impact test). These computerized tests have repeatedly been shown as being unreliable as a stand-alone measure of function in many medical studies. In addition, these tests do not measure a number of areas of the brain that are frequently affected by concussion injuries. It is important; therefore, to be cautious of clinics and organizations that advertise concussion management services that rely heavily on computerized tests as these will not provide you with an accurate baseline on their own – often over-estimating recovery and ultimately sending players back into harms way. CCMI uses the online neurocognitive testing as ONE SMALL PART of a full, comprehensive exam. (5,6)
Who should get baseline tested? And how often?
This type of comprehensive baseline testing has been utilized in professional sports programs for years, but we believe that amateur athletes of all ages (8 years and up) should have this type of testing since research shows that the majority of concussions, unfortunately, happen in this age group. Due to the fact that children develop rapidly, it is important to repeat the baseline testing once every year to have the most up to date information on file.
How much does it cost? Why are there different prices depending on age?
8 – 12 years old: $60
13 years and older: $70
The older age group is slightly more expensive due to the fact that they have an additional component of testing that is to be completed.
Will my benefit plan cover the cost of a baseline test at STRIDE?
If you have personal insurance benefits that cover physical therapy services, then yes, your plan will most likely cover the cost of the baseline test. We encourage everyone to check with their providers to make sure this is the case for you. Everyone is issued a receipt at the time of the test that can be submitted for reimbursement.
How long does the test take?
The test is completed in approximately 20-30min
How do I go about getting a baseline test done at STRIDE?
It’s simple! You can go about booking a baseline test in one of 4 easy ways:
- Call 306.778.7770 during business hours and book your appointment over the phone *
- Stop by STRIDE Physio & Performance at 220 1st Ave NW Swift Current, SK and book your appointment in person *
- Click here and follow the prompts to book online anytime
- Visit our STRIDE Physio & Performance booth at city-wide registration Sept 7 & 8th to book your appointment in person
* Business Hours are:
Mon/Tues/Thus/Fri 9am – 5pm
Wed 12noon – 8pm
Anything else I should know?
We encourage everyone to watch this short video discussing what a concussion is, why a baseline test is so important, and just what CCMI is all about…
We look forward to helping you hit your STRIDE (and keeping your brain safe) this season!
- Vagnizzi R, Signoretti S, Tavazzi B, Cimatti M, Amorini AM, Donzelli S, et al. Hypothesis of the Postconcussive Vulnerable Brain: Experimental Evidence of Its Metabolic Occurrence. Neurosurgery. 2005 Jul; 57(1):164-71.
- McCrory P, Meeuwisse WH, Aubry M, Cantu B, Dvorak J, Echemendia RJ, et al. Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, November 2012. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2013 Mar 11;47(5):250–8.
- Vagnizzi R, Signoretti S, Tavazzi B, Cimatti M, Amorini AM, Donzelli S, et al. Temporal Window of Metabolic Brain Vulnerability to Concussions. Neurosurgery. 2007 Aug; 61(2):379-89.
- Meehan WP III, Zhang J, Mannix R, Whalen MJ. Increasing Recovery Time Between Injuries Improves Cognitive Outcome After Repetitive Mild Concussive Brain Injuries in Mice. Neurosurgery. 2012 Oct; 71(4):885-92.
- Henry LC, Elbin RJ, Collins MW, Marchetti G, Kontos AP. Examining Recovery Trajectories After Sport-Related Concussion With a Multimodal Clinical Assessment Approach. Neurosurgery. 2015 Oct;:1.
- American Medical Society position statement on concussion in sport – Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 2013
- Mayers et al. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 2012