WHAT IS BASELINE TESTING FOR CONCUSSION?
- Baseline testing measures your brain functioning in a healthy state.
- If you get a concussion, doctors use your baseline test to know the "normal" cognitive functioning you need to return to.
- A baseline test should be taken by EVERYONE at risk for concussion (that's everyone).
- Baseline testing should be completed every year, just like a physical.
- Trained healthcare providers are the only people who should diagnose and treat concussions.
- Your baseline test serves as one of the tools that doctors use to diagnose and treat concussions.
- You can take your own baseline test online, at home at BaselineTesting.com.
HOW DOES BASELINE TESTING WORK?
Baseline testing measures your cognitive functioning when you’re healthy or uninjured. It’s one tool (combined with a check of your concussion symptoms and other concussion assessments) that doctors use to check your cognitive status after a head injury.
For athletes, baseline tests are completed prior to the start of their sport season. ImPACT Baseline Test is a computerized neurocognitive test completed online, in about 20 minutes.
If you ever get a concussion, you will take an ImPACT Post-Injury Test and a trained healthcare provider will compare the results to your baseline. Anyone can take a baseline test online, at home, at BaselineTesting.com.
WHY IS BASELINE TESTING IMPORTANT?
Baseline testing is important because if you get a head injury, a doctor has an idea of where you normally function, and they can measure the extent of impairment after concussion using a post-injury test.
Baseline concussion tests are a crucial part of concussion management because the best comparison of a patient’s status is to themselves in a healthy state.
Concussion treatment is improved with baseline testing because healthcare providers know exactly where you’re suffering after concussion, so they can individualize treatment to help you feel better.
As concussion awareness continues to grow, baseline testing is becoming more widely recognized.
IS BASELINE TESTING ONLY FOR ATHLETES?
Baseline tests should be completed by everyone who is at risk for concussion, not just athletes. While concussion in sports is widely talked about, the most common cause of concussions is actually falls.
This means that everyone can get a concussion and should take a baseline test. Concussion recovery can be more complicated without a baseline test, because healthcare providers don’t know what your “normal” is, so they may not know exactly what you need to recover.
Baseline testing is also a great way to raise concussion awareness and to educate others on the symptoms and signs of concussion.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET BASELINE TESTED?
Baseline testing should be completed every year, since the brain is continually developing and changing.
Your brain is vastly different than it was five years ago, and you want to have the most up-to-date information on your brain if you ever get a concussion.
The good news is that ImPACT Baseline Test, while it is a neuropsychological test, feels like a game, so it’s fun to take.
WHO CAN USE MY BASELINE TEST TO DIAGNOSE A CONCUSSION?
Trained healthcare providers are the only ones who should diagnose a concussion.
After a head injury, neuropsychologists, physicians, athletic trainers, physiotherapists, or another discipline specially trained in concussion management will conduct an assessment to determine if you have a concussion.
Afterward, they’ll recommend specific treatment and rehabilitation to help you get back to the level of functioning shown on your baseline exam.
Return to play protocols for athletes and return to activity for non-athletes should always be supervised by concussion specialists.
HOW IS MY BASELINE TESTING INFORMATION USED IF A CONCUSSION IS SUSPECTED?
If a concussion is suspected, a healthcare provider will have you complete a post-injury test, and they will compare the results to your baseline test.
They’ll know how much your cognitive functioning has suffered after a concussion, and they can target treatment to help you feel better.
Baseline testing aids concussion recovery because doctors have a good idea of the level of functioning you need to return to for a full recovery.
For athletes who need to go through a return to play protocol to be cleared to return to sports, they’ll need to return to their baseline levels of functioning.
HOW CAN I GET BASELINE TESTED?
Baseline testing can be completed online, at home, at BaselineTesting.com.
The computerized neurocognitive test takes just 20 minutes to complete.
Your baseline test results are saved in a secure database that can only be accessed by a trained healthcare provider if they suspect you’ve gotten a concussion.
Your baseline test will be an important resource to help a doctor recommend treatment and rehabilitation to help you feel better after a concussion.