Assessment Tools for Concussions

As there is more awareness of the dangers of concussions, particularly when playing sports, most now realize that concussions have to be assessed early and that proper follow-up care is necessary. As a result, there are now several assessment tools available for the amateur, scholastic and professional level of athletes.

The following are some of the diagnostic and assessment tools now being used:

– The C3Logix system is an assessment tool that was initially used for research into Parkinson’s disease but is now being used to assess those with concussions. It determines rate of dizziness, balance and visual disturbances. The data is stored in the system, eliminating the guesswork, and makes managing brain injuries, and particularly concussions, easier. Tpad2’s are currently being used along with the C3 system as the assessment tool. A baseline assessment is done on players pre-season so that if there should be a suspected concussion then another follow-up assessment will be done to compare the two assessments in order to determine the degree of the injury. Another assessment may be done during the recovery period to determine rate of injury improvement and another before the player is allowed to return to the game. By doing these types of assessments, it ensures that no player will be allowed to play with any symptoms that have not been resolved. This data collection system assesses the neurocognitive symptoms, balance, reaction times, memory and motor function to determine brain health so that concussions can be better managed. It is portable and accurate and it is able to focus on moving objects and tests athletes at all levels.

– SCAT2 is another diagnostic assessing tool for determining concussions. It is a standardized method of evaluating athletes for concussions from as young as ten years and older. The SCAT2 also does pre-season baseline testing of athletes.

– ImPact Sports Concussion Assessment and Cognitive testing is also utilized. It tracks the injury from the time of concussion and throughout the recovery process.

– The C3 Application is often used with the ImPact Sports Assessment. It is an iPad based application to assess concussions. All information is put into the medical record system so that follow-ups can be made. As part of this assessment, there will likely be a physical assessment as well, i.e.: a drop test and a balance test.

There are approximately 500,000 sports related concussions in the United States each year. MRI’s and CT scans do not detect concussions. Because concussion symptoms can be very difficult to correctly determine the degree of injury, these diagnostic assessment tools are a huge advantage to medical professionals as well as athletes to ensure that proper care is received and that hopefully long-term problems can be avoided in the future.

These diagnostic assessment tools are becoming used more frequently within schools and universities in the United States. Hopefully the advantages of their use will begin to be realized.

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