The story behind baseline testing for Concussions

Oct 30, 2019

Concussions have been a hot topic in sports over the past decade and we have seen an increase in awareness and management at the pro level. Most major leagues now have concussion spotters who can pull athletes out of games for further testing if a concussion is suspected. These leagues also have specific and well-developed protocols for return to sport. But what about for youth? Even with the growing awareness of concussions, there is still much confusion and uncertainty when managing concussions in youth athletes.

In 2018, Ontario passed Bill 193, better known to many as Rowan’s Law. Rowan Stringer was a high school rugby player in Ottawa who passed away after sustaining two concussions within one week. This comes 9 years after the state of Washington passed the Lystedt law, after Zach Lystedt returned to a football game after sustaining a 1st quarter concussion only to be hit again in the 3rd quarter and ended up suffering a catastrophic brain injury. Cases like these have led to mandated courses for coaches and trainers to help identify when a concussion may have occurred and what are the basic steps to follow. Alberta, however, has yet to pass any legislation in regards to concussion management.

After the identification of a possible concussion, the difficulty is then determining when the athlete is ready to return. Symptoms typically subside in 10-14 days, but research has shown the brain is still recovering around 21 days after injury. Baseline testing can become an important part in evaluation, rehabilitation and return to sport. The SCAT5 and Impact tests can be useful tools for evaluating and monitoring concussions. However, there are additional comprehensive systems that are more multimodal in nature; one such system is Complete Concussion Management. This evidence based and interdisciplinary system allows practitioners to complete and store baseline tests, and track symptoms.  It also includes clear targets that must be met to ensure safe return to sport. While only some teams request that all their athletes get baseline tests this is a service available to all athletes; whether a player on a hockey or rugby team or an individual sport athlete such as mixed martial arts or horseback riding, a baseline test is the best way to take the guessing out of return to sport.

Baseline testing using the Complete Concussion Management is available at all Active Physio Works locations. For more information on Active Physio Works and concussions visit: For more information on Complete Concussion Management you can visit

To book baseline testing for yourself or your team, call 780-458-8505.

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