Baseline vs Post-Concussion Testing

It is recommended that all athletes have a baseline test every 2 years. A baseline test allows us to have a test score establishing your “normal” level of brain performance and function. This is the test used to compare any post-concussion test against in evaluating your potential for a concussion. Anyone is welcome to take a baseline test whether they participate in athletics or not. Many active individuals and club sport athletes (who are not required by a school) come in to have a baseline test performed.

The ImPACT test is available in 16 languages.

Once the test is completed we will verify that the test is “Valid”. On a rare occasion, we can have an invalid test. This can occur for several reasons, but the main cause is the individual taking the test did not take time to fully read and understand the instructions. Thus, they complete a section of the test incorrectly and get an invalid result. The other reason for an invalid test is that the test taker is “sandbagging” or intentionally trying to perform poorly. They do this hoping that if they have a concussion later and take the test it will match their “sandbagged” baseline test. The ImPACT test is too smart for this. The test is designed to catch people who perform poorly on purpose. Even the creators of the test can only “fool” the ImPACT about 20% of the time. Bottom line: If you take your time and do your best, you will be fine.
If you have an invalid test you will need to come back at a later time to repeat the test. No refunds are offered for the invalid test.

Post-Concussion Test:

A post-concussion test should be performed soon after a suspected concussion. This test will be compared against the baseline test and can help with the determination of whether or not the individual has a concussion and the severity of the concussion. Repeated post-concussion tests may be used to assist with return to play decisions.

What if I don’t have a Baseline Test?

Even without a baseline test, we can perform a post-concussion test. This test is compared against normative values for matched peers. More specifically, we can compare an individual against others who have taken the ImPACT test matched by age, sex, sport, level of education, position within a sport, and many other factors. This allows us to compare a post-concussion score against very similar individuals. Since the ImPACT database consists of scores of tens of thousands of individuals we can generate a very accurate post-concussion score and comparison even without a baseline test.

For more information, Contact us at Kirkland, WA center.

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