Research has shown that 10-15% of athletes are estimated to experience concussions every year while playing contact sports. It is essential to understand the importance of a Post-Injury Concussion Assessment.
The main purpose of a Post-Injury Concussion Assessment is to rule out red flags. What are red flags? They are signs and symptoms that indicate a more serious condition.
A Post-Injury Concussion Assessment should be performed by a health care professional that has taken specialized training in concussion management.
The first part of the assessment is the Subjective Exam. Questions will be asked about:
How the injury occurred
Symptoms immediately after
Past medical history
Red flags will be ruled out
The second part of the assessment is the Objective Exam. The health professional will examine the following:
Visual system- how the eyes track, quick eye movements, focus, pupil reaction to light
Vestibular system- how well you are able to balance in different positions with your eyes open and closed, checking the ear canals with head movements
Neurological system- checking your reflexes, sensation, cranial nerves, coordination
Cervical Spine (Neck)- assessing movement, strength, muscles, joints, nerves
A diagnosis is then made which could include concussion with or without loss of consciousness and/or whiplash.
A concussion diagnosis is made when the athlete has sustained an injury that is consistent with the mechanism of injury for concussion and also has at least one symptom of concussion. The only way to confidently clear an athlete if there is no clear mechanism of injury is to test them against their Pre-Season Concussion Baseline Test…more on this in a future article.