Any athlete who participates in a high impact sport should receive baseline ImPACT testing. Baseline testing gives coaches and trainers a personal brain fingerprint of each athlete. If a concussion is suspected, future testing will be compared to the baseline test to determine if further treatment is necessary. There are three state-of-the-art concussion assessment tools that are widely used.
Concussion assessment tools:
The King-Devick Test is a reliable, accurate, easy to administer screening tool used for detecting concussions. The King-Devick Test is a quick and effective way to help determine if a player should return to play. Fifty five percent of all motor pathways of the brain are linked to the eyes. This King Devick tests those pathways. It is most effective when used with other tests.
The ImPACT Test is the most widely used concussion assessment test. The ImPACT Test is given to all athletes at the start of the season in order that each athlete has a baseline test. When an athlete is suspected of an injury, they are taken out of the game and given the test the next day by a specially trained medical professional or trainer. The test is highly specific for concussion but its disadvantages are that it takes time and must be administered by a trained professional.
The BESS Test is used to assess the effects of a concussive blow on an athlete. Completed in about 10 minutes, the BESS Test offers quick results in any environment. The test measures balance and coordination which are immediately affected by a traumatized brain.
Each of these tests are good concussion assessment tools. When used together, their relaibility is nearly 100%.
It is important to note that these tests have not been fully evaluated in the child athlete under the
age of 10. More research needs to be done to find an accurate concussion tool for the young athlete.
Return to play
Return to play protocol summary;
Concussions are no laughing matter and should be dealt with very seriously. Each case is unique and requires the medical assessment of a qualified health professional. It is important V that concussed players are given enough time to rest and heal before returning to play. This is the return to play protocol that the NFL uses for its concussed players. Download Here
It is of the utmost importance that no athlete return to play until they are cleared by a health professional.