Concussion Management

Concussion Management

Concussion Facts

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. Concussions are caused by a sudden blow or jarring motion to the head or body that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain and can cause significant and possibly permanent neurological impairments.

A concussion is the ONLY sports injury that can affect a student athlete’s personality as well as their ability to learn in school.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 300,000 concussions are sustained annually during sports-related activities in the United States.  Out of those, an estimated 62,000 are suffered by student-athletes.

A concussion can change the way the brain would normally function. They are often very difficult to diagnose as many signs and symptoms don’t immediately appear. Another difficulty of concussion diagnosis is that many athletes are reluctant to admit or address the possibility of a concussion because they want to continue participating in their activity.

Concussions not only affect athletes, but many concussions occur at home and often go undiagnosed. Car accidents, work accidents, falls, and playground accidents are all common causes of a concussion.

 Any blow or impact to the head can be serious. The staff at Washington Physical Therapy and the ImPACT test can help to assist you in the diagnosis and management of concussions.

If you believe you or someone you know may be suffering from a concussion, request a consult immediately from our Kirkland, WA physical therapy practice by calling us at 425-820-2110.

ImPACT Concussion Test

Baseline Test

The ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) test evaluates how your brain performs and functions during specific tasks.  It is NOT a test of your intelligence or IQ test.

It is recommended that all athletes have a baseline test every 2 years. A baseline test allows us to have a score establishing your “normal” level of brain performance and function. This test is used to compare with any post-concussion tests 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 come in to have a baseline test performed.

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 and completed an entire section of the test incorrectly.

The other reason for an invalid test is 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. 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 later 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 the individual has a concussion as well as the severity of the concussion. Repeated post-concussion tests may be used to assist with return to play decisions. 

The ImPACT test is just one tool used to diagnose a concussion and track recovery.  An examination by a qualified medical professional is still critical in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions.

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.

The ImPACT test is available in 16 languages.

Our ImPACT trained Physical Therapist is one of only 10 in Washington state and the only ImPACT certified PT in the greater Seattle or Eastside area.

We are proud to have an ImPACT trained Physical Therapist on staff who is an expert in the diagnosis, management, and safe return to activity of concussed individuals.  Regardless if the injury was related to sports, work, an accident at home, or a car accident, you can be guaranteed to get the best treatment possible in our clinic.

ImPACT trained therapists undergo certified training in the neurocognitive test, the evaluation and treatment of concussed individuals, and specific training in safe return to activity.

This is the only training certified by the experts who designed the test.

How To Schedule

Please call to schedule an ImPACT test. Testing is generally available throughout the day during normal business hours.

The test takes anywhere from 25-45 minutes. If this is your first time taking an ImPACT test, please allow for an average of 30-45 minutes. If you are familiar with the ImPACT test 25-30 minutes should be enough time.

Some individuals with significant concussion symptoms may need longer to complete the test. The test is performed on a computer, so if you use glasses or contacts when using a computer please be sure to bring these with you.

Costs: $40 per test – baseline or post-concussion. Payable at time of test by cash, check, credit, debit. No refunds are given for invalid tests.

For more information, contact us at our Kirkland, WA center.

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