What is the Baseline Concussion Test and why do athletes take it?

The+Baseline+Concussion+test+is+an+online+test+implemented+to+access+athlete+brain+function.

Jocelyn Hsu

The Baseline Concussion test is an online test implemented to access athlete brain function.

Athlete safety is the most important thing to consider in any sport. Coaches and athletic trainers at Amador have been improving the athletes’ well-being by requiring baseline concussion tests.

“A baseline test is taken on the computer. Athletes answer a certain amount of questions to see how quickly they are answering some of those questions. And how well is their brain functioning,’’ said Danial Jones, AV Varsity Football Coach.

The Baseline Concussion Test doesn’t just provide results of the athletes’ current brain functioning. More importantly, it helped the sports medicine doctors diagnose if an athlete appears to have a concussion. It is also helpful for determining the level of brain injury by comparing the test results numbers.

“Every athlete is tested at the beginning of their season, it provides a baseline of where they are before their season starts. So if a head injury occurs, we have something to go back on to compare their numbers. Their test is good for two years and it can be carried over to different sports,” said Diana Hasenpflug, AV Athletic Trainer and Sports Medicine Teacher. 

Besides showing the performance abilities, the baseline test is also used as proof during the healing process of a concussion. It certifies that the athletes can return by showing a small difference between the test results at the beginning of the season and after being asymptomatic.

“We evaluate them as soon as they have signs and symptoms. We’ll have them retake their baseline test once they are 24 hours asymptomatic. Then, we create a sheet of their old and new numbers coming off from a concussion and have them take that to their physician so they can be cleared after evaluations. They have to be held out of the game for a minimum of eight days after being ‘diagnosed’,” said Hasenpflug.

Amador also is making progress on improving athletes’ safety in some other aspects. For example, the football program fundraised approximately $40,000 for more protective helmets. 

“The Football program bought 175 brand new, speed flags football helmets. It significantly lowers the number of concussions that we have. We got those helmets in 2019, ever since then, our concussion numbers have gone down tremendously.” Jones

Since brain injuries occur very often in sports including soccer, another method Amador uses to ensure the athletes’ safety is having sports medicine-associated professionals travel along with sports teams to provide support at events. 

“We have sports meds out there watching our games. If someone were to get injured, they know what to do. We also have trainers there when we go to other schools to help with preventing concussions,” said Parker Brown, AV Girls Soccer Team Player. 

Overall, by following the proper processes, we can use the baseline test to ensure that athletes are put away from high risk situations. 

“I feel like if the protocol is followed and done correctly, they will be at a good level where it’s safe for them to compete at a high contact sport.” Hasenpflug.