Kids are flocking to the fields right now to play fall sports like football and soccer. Unfortunately, with all this running around, there are bound to be some real run-ins. Hitting heads with one another or a bouncing head off the ground is very common in youth sports and could lead to a concussion.
An estimated 3.8 million concussions are suffered in the U.S. each year due to competitive and recreational sports. Children (those under 18 years of age) account for the highest rate of ER visits from these traumatic brain injuries.
In sports, a concussion, or TBI, often results from a blow to the head or body which causes the brain to bounce, twist, and swell inside the skull. Such a hit can cause immediate symptoms such as headache, confusion, blurry vision or the feeling that “your bell has rung”. Other longer-term symptoms may include continued headaches, difficulty concentrating and memory issues.
Many parents, as well as youth schools and sports teams, are pursuing ‘Baseline Testing’ now for their players with the start of each new season.
What is Baseline Testing?
Baseline Testing assesses normal brain response with regards to memory, concentration and processing speed.
Our pediatric neurologists use baseline tests for comparison purposes in the event that an athlete (child, teenager or young adult) suffers a head injury. How their brain functioned in everyday circumstances before being jostled during sports can help our doctors diagnose the concussion and guide a treatment plan. If an athlete is suspected to have suffered a brain injury, another test (post-injury assessment) is given and compared to the baseline. After the test, the child’s physician can plan the best treatment and also track the brain’s progress in healing with follow-up testing.
We offer baseline and post-injury concussion exams for athletes at our three clinic locations using a computerized testing program called ImPACT. ImPACT is the most widely used computer-based testing. It is scientifically validated and is used by the NFL, MLB, NBA and many collegiate programs.
Does my child need Baseline and Impact Testing?
We recommend baseline testing for your child every two years if (1) they play competitive contact sports, or (2) have had a concussion or serious injury in the past.
If you have questions about Baseline or Impact testing, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric neurology specialists.