Baseline testing should be repeated at least once per year and should involve more than just online/computer-based neurocognitive testing. Medical research has repeatedly demonstrated online or computer-based testing to be insufficient on it’s own. Several studies have shown, and several world-wide consensus statements have concluded, that by themselves, online testing may over-estimate recovery and send players back into harms way . It is important to off-set online testing with a full protocol of physical and in-person baseline neurological testing (see section on 'The necessity of baseline testing').
Here are some quotes from recent research studies examining the usefulness of a concussion program that only uses online testing:
“Neuropsychological tests should only be used as a part of a comprehensive concussion management strategy and SHOULD NOT BE USED IN ISOLATION”- American Medical Society position statement on concussion in sport – Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine – 2013
“Computer-based concussion evaluations did not provide stable measures of cognitive functioning. Inconsistent performance on concussion assessments may lead clinicians to inaccurate determinations of cognitive function”- Broglio et al., 2007
“We conclude that the empirical evidence does not support the use of ImPACT testing (a popular computer-based concussion test) for determining the time of post-concussion return to play”- Mayers et al. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 2012
(see here and here for additional news stories highlighting the major limitations with only using online testing as your concussion management strategy).
Although these tests have shown unreliability as a stand-alone test, they are currently recommended as an adjunct to a complete and comprehensive program. Our program has been designed to be completely research-based, which is why we include online testing as only one small component of our comprehensive protocol.
The first step in managing these injuries properly is to get your whole team and/or organization tested with a comprehensive baseline test. Without having this information it becomes very difficult to determine full recovery, so please get this done! With this wealth of information regarding each player when they are at their peak performance (ie. before injury), we then can make a proper and objective decision on whether or not they have fully recovered.
Additional benefits of having your entire team tested include coach/trainer education including on-field assessment, emergency situations and specific return to play drills.
Contact us today to schedule baseline testing for yourself or for your team.