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Elizabeth Quinn

Baseline Assessment Critical for Concussion Management in Youth Sports

By July 18, 2011

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Once a silent injury, sports concussion management and prevention is becoming hot topic in both professional and amateur sports.

Approximately nine percent of all high school sports injuries are concussions, and researchers are developing new methods to determine the affect of a concussion on an athlete's functional status, and if and when an athlete's can safely return to sports without risking long-term consequences.

At this year's Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, researchers presented study findings that reinforced how valuable it is for every young athlete to have a baseline concussion assessment.

The study findings reveal that there is tremendous variability in baseline concussion test scores between individuals, as well as differences between males and females. This variability makes any standardized post-concussion assessment ineffective for determining the seriousness of a given athlete's head injury. The best way to determine how much an athlete has been injured by a concussion is to compare that athlete's pre- and post-concussion scores. For such a tool to work, it is critical that every athlete have a baseline assessment long before any head injury occurs.

About the Research

Researchers from the Orthopaedic Clinic Association in Phoenix analyzed the new Sport Concussion Assessment Tool-2 (SCAT2) to determine the variability in data for youth athletes and whether gender makes a difference on the scores. Their findings showed that otherwise healthy adolescent athletes do display some variability in results and establishing each player's own baseline before the season starts leads to more accurate diagnosis and treatment if the athlete has a head injury during the season.

What is the SCAT2? Watch a video demonstration of the assessment.

Anyone who suffers an impact to the head may wind up with a concussion, so it's important take precautions to decrease the risk of a sports concussion. Here is what you need to know about head injuries and sports concussions.

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