Athletic Advantage: Baseline Concussions

- In contact sports, no matter how hard the sport's governing body tries, there is still going to be the risk of injury.

It's known in the medical field as neurocognitive testing. Before an athlete ever gets a concussion, doctors recommend they take what's called a baseline concussion test.

In the test, an athlete will encounter things that test word recall, shape recall, reaction time and short and long term memory. Doctors stress it's not an intelligence test but rather a test of basic cognitive function. That way, if an athlete does suffer a concussion, they can take the test again after going through the healing process.

"If there is an injury or if there is a concussion, a lot of times we'll use a post injury test to see that their brain function is close to or right at where they were previous to getting injured," says United Regional athletic trainer Jeremy Woodward. 

This test is also often the final determining factor for return to play protocols. Doctors also recommend that all junior high and high school athletes take the test. So if you are an athlete or a parent of an athlete interested in neurocognitive testing, take the first step and check with your athletic director coach or physician to see when and where the testing might be offered.

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