Stuart has been the driving force behind our interest in concussion management. He has allowed UC Physio to teamed up with HeadSmart to provide a baseline measure of an athlete’s cognitive and physical balance function. These are very useful to have at the start of each year. These scores help in the provision of rehabilitation following a concussion and will assist us and the medical doctor return the athlete to competitive sport. The benefits of this are not just limited to the sporting environment but are very useful in determining when a person might return to higher level mental activities. Consider a school aged athlete who may be approaching end of year exams and who might suffer a second concussion in the weeks before the exam. It would be comforting to know that their cognitive function had returned to their baseline prior to sitting a major exam.
Concussion and post concussion rehabilitation is a very important and until recently an unrecognised part of sporting participation. We can provide the HeadSmart baseline CogState. A baseline measure of balance is also recommended. These are essential to have in the event of a concussion as it gives specific measures of function prior to the brain injury and assist to guide returning to school, work and returning to sport.
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Concussion Case Study
John plays football for his school. The school introduced the ‘Headsmart’ program this year which the parents were informed about through the school. The information explained that ‘Headsmart’ was a program that would be followed in the event that anyone suffered a concussion during the season.
As part of the program John underwent a ‘baseline’ assessment to measure his normal brain function using a computerised application which involved pressing keys on the keyboard in response to questions about playing cards (e.g. Have you seen this card?, Is this red or black?) early in the season. He also attended UC Physio to get a baseline score of his balance function on two quick tests. 3 months after the baseline testing John sustained a concussion during a game. He was reportedly unconscious for a few seconds and wobbly on feet. He was immediately removed from the game. His mother was at the game and used the First Responder App to identify a list of Medical practitioners who are registered in the ‘Headsmart’ program. The next day John’s mother contacted UC Physio and an appointment was made. John attended the appointment where the physiotherapist immediately accessed John’s baseline test and administered the test again and provided him with the results. The physiotherapist explained what happens to the brain in a concussion and requested requested a follow up appointment in one week to test John again. A week later John attended the follow up appointment. A further test was administered. The results of the test on this occasion showed that Lincoln was within 10% of his baseline test. On this occasion John was told he could train with the team but he was not allowed to engage in any contact for a period of 19 days from the day of the injury. There was some pressure from outside sources (as well as John) for John to train and play trials in a representative team – the school coaching staff were outstanding in supporting John to see through the 19 day exclusion and provided the representative coaching staff with the information they needed to ensure they had an understanding of the concussion and the program for a safe return to football.