What To Do After You Get In A Car Accident – The concussion test evaluates brain function after a head injury. Most concussion tests consist of a questionnaire or symptom checklist. The concussion test checks your attention, memory, concentration, speed of thought, problem solving skills and more. They also check your balance and coordination. The concussion test is one of the tools used to diagnose a concussion.
Health care providers, athletic trainers, and coaches use concussion tests to evaluate brain function before and after a head injury.
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A concussion is a minor traumatic brain injury caused by a crash, violent impact or blow to the head. Damage disrupts normal brain function. A concussion can also occur if the head is jerked back and forth or sideways as a result of a strong body blow.
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One of the most common thoughts is that a concussion only happens when you lose consciousness. In fact, most people with concussions do not lose consciousness. You, your child or someone close to you may have had a concussion and not know it. So even if you don’t think your blow to the head is serious, it’s important to get tested.
Anyone who experiences a blow to the head or a head movement such as whiplash should be checked for a concussion. Concussion testing checks cognition (the brain’s ability to think and process information) after a head injury.
Concussion screening is a useful tool to help health care providers diagnose concussions. Early diagnosis allows concussions to be planned and managed early. Repeated concussion tests also help evaluate how well the brain recovers from a head injury.
There are many concussion tests. They range from very simple (usually performed by non-medical personnel) to very detailed (by medical personnel). All of these tests use a combination of oral, written, or computerized methods to check different brain functions.
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There are many “named” concussion tests. Most concussion tests are a series of questionnaires or symptom checklists. Everyone has their own scoring system.
Some concussion tests are administered by an athletic trainer, coach, or sports medicine physician. Other tests are self-report tests that you can write yourself. Others, however, are among the tools used by health care providers such as neurologists.
WARNING: The Concussion Assessment Tool is not a substitute for medical evaluation. Youth athletes (under the age of 18) who have suffered a blow to the head or a suspected concussion should not return to the sport that day. It should be removed immediately until the healthcare professional feels it is safe to resume sports. In all 50 states, it is against state law for an athlete to return to practice/play without first being evaluated by a physician for clearance.
People use the Standardized Concussion Assessment (SAC) test on the sideline and emergency room to assess an athlete’s immediate mental state. This test checks a player’s orientation, immediate memory, concentration and delayed memory. The SAC takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. The test questions are:
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SCAT stands for Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 5. A concussion evaluation tool for use in adults 13 years of age and older. This includes the SAC test and neck and balance assessment, yes/no symptom checklist, and other information about concussion-related injuries and conditions. The SCAT5 takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. There is also a pediatric version for children 6-12 years old.
MACE stands for Military Acute Concussion Evaluation. This test collects information about events, concussion signs and symptoms and includes a version of the SAC test information.
During this test, close your eyes and place your hands on your hips. The stance is to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, one foot in front of the other and one leg on your non-dominant leg. All positions must be held for 20 seconds.
Healthcare providers use the Acute Concussion Assessment (ACE) tool. It includes questions about the presence of concussion characteristics, a checklist of 22 concussion symptoms, and risk factors that can delay recovery. This form collects certain information including:
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The Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) is a self-report test that ranks 21 symptoms by severity (from none to severe) at baseline and at various time points. Symptoms include body, thinking, sleep and emotional functioning.
The Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test is a computerized test for athletes 12 years and older. The test has three sections.
This testing platform now has a pediatric version and rapid tests for diagnostic tests in the emergency department or acute care.
The Cleveland Clinic has developed its own concussion mobile application for healthcare professionals who evaluate and manage concussions. After baseline data is collected, the C3 app is used to:
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The C3 app compares the post-injury assessment to an athlete’s baseline and standard data for balance, information processing, reaction time, sequencing, coordination and visual acuity.
These tests are useful for identifying a possible concussion, but you still need to see your healthcare provider (unless the test was administered by a healthcare professional). Your health care provider or neurology team will also perform a full examination including balance and vision tests. They may also order imaging tests, including MRI or CT scans, to check the brain or bleeding. There is also a blood test called the Brain Trauma Indicator. This blood test measures certain proteins in the blood that are released after a mild traumatic brain injury. The presence of these proteins may indicate cerebral hemorrhage.
This type of concussion testing is primarily performed on student athletes. College athletes who play contact sports are usually tested for baseline concussions before the start of the season. This questionnaire measures normal brain function in areas including memory, speed of thought and attention. Computerized tests are often like playing a video game. If a player suffers a head injury at any point during the season, they will be removed from competition and tested again. The results of the current concussion test will be compared to the preseason results.
Another simple tool is the Sideline Concussion Assessment. This test checks brain function in an athlete who is suspected of having a concussion. Common questions include:
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Players who have received a blow to the head or are suspected of having a concussion must not return to the game. This test provides some information. If a physician or sports medicine specialist is not on school staff, players should contact their health care provider for further follow-up. Your health care provider may perform a complete physical exam and some tests, or refer you to a sports medicine specialist or neurologist for additional testing and imaging if needed.
First, know that only a doctor can examine you or your loved one and order the tests needed to diagnose a concussion. But in some cases, you can ask a few simple questions and gather information that you can share with your healthcare provider.
For example, you can be with a parent when they fall and hit their head, and you can be with your child when they fall off their bike and hit their head. Gathering information immediately after a case is useful not only when meeting a health care provider for the first time, but also when caring for a loved one returning home from an examination. Contact your loved one’s healthcare provider immediately if there are any changes to your information.
Again, don’t try to self-diagnose a concussion. The head damage is not too small. All head injuries must be checked by a doctor. Your loved one’s healthcare provider will want to perform their own tests, including brain imaging studies, before making a diagnosis.
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Each concussion test has its own scoring system. You may be tested for one or more types of concussion. If concussion tests and other findings suggest a concussion has occurred, your healthcare provider will discuss your recovery plan.
The normal pupil diameter (dark part of the eye) should be about the same in both eyes. Pupils react to direct sunlight. A simple test for concussion evaluation is to shine a dimmed flashlight from the outer edge of each eye to the inner one. The pupil must rapidly narrow (constrict) in response to light. A slow pupillary reaction to light can be a sign of brain damage (increased intracranial pressure or ICP). Pupils that do not respond to light at all may indicate a significant increase in ICP or severe brain damage.
Pupil shape can also reveal important information. In general, the pupil should be round in shape. Oval pupils can also be a sign of brain damage (increased intracranial pressure).
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. The concussion test is a relatively simple and quick tool for evaluating possible concussions. Concussion testing is not the only method health care providers use to diagnose concussions. Your healthcare provider will do a full examination and order imaging scans (if needed) and other tests. Concussion tests and other test results can diagnose and manage concussions early, so you can recover faster and prevent further damage.
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