Baseline Testing Produces More Than Just the Obvious Benefits

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the September issues of Concussion Litigation Report. For the full story, please subscribe athttp://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

By Elaine Iandoli, of New York Institute of Technology

Athletes who undergo pre-season concussion baseline testing, combined with education about concussion prevention, symptoms, and treatment, are likely better prepared to deal with the possibility of a concussion injury or the aftermath of one, says sports medicine expert Dr. Hallie Zwibel.

Concussion education should start early before players hit the fields and courts, and it should remain part of the athletic program throughout the season, with coaches, parents, and student-athletes learning about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, says Zwibel, acting director for New York Institute of Technology Center for Sports and Wellness.

“For student-athletes, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of concussion, work on your balance and muscle strength, be aware of where you are in the space of a playing field or court and the actions you’re taking, and of course make sure your helmet fits properly, is well-maintained, and is worn correctly,” Zwibel says.

Practice is a common time when athletes suffer concussions. But even before practices begin, pre-season baseline testing is an important part of a comprehensive approach focusing on education and awareness.

“With baseline testing, we can screen for increased risk factors, such as ADHD or history of a previous concussion,” says Zwibel. “We can test for memory, processing speed, and reaction time — information that’s useful when we have a patient who later suffers a suspected concussion. The baseline testing gives us more information to compare against testing after an injury.”

Zwibel notes that it’s important that …

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