Concussion management programs have become a major focus in sports medicine clinics due to the increased public awareness and recognition of concussions. One of the biggest concerns following a concussion is the possibility that an athlete returns to sport before the brain has fully healed and sustains a second concussion, which has the potential to cause irreversible brain damage. Unfortunately, there is no single clinical test that can be done to know when an athlete has fully recovered from a concussion. Furthermore, research has shown that symptom resolution occurs much sooner than brain recovery, which may put athletes at risk for returning to sport too quickly, especially if sport clearance is based solely on symptoms. How are health practitioners, coaches and parents supposed to know when an athlete is ready to return to sport? In order to know when an athlete has fully recovered, the different areas of the brain that could potentially be affected with a concussion must be assessed, including:
- Reaction time;
- Neurocognitive performance;
- and visual processing.
These different test results need be compared to pre-injury values in order to know when an athlete has returned to their normal pre-concussion baseline values. As such, the best way to ensure that you return to sport safely following a concussion is to get baseline tested before a concussion even occurs. At Sheddo