Concussion Baseline Test Information and Instructions
Why you should take a concussion baseline test
Concussions can happen to anyone at any time. The MMC Concussion Test is a scientifically based system that aligns with current sports concussion guidelines and can be taken as part of a concussion management program. Every athlete in your house should take a baseline concussion test annually, as the brain continues to change throughout development. A baseline test is taken prior to participation in any athletic activity. Anyone ages 10 to 70 can take the test.
The test measures different sections of the brain that are most likely to be impaired in the case of a concussion. If a head injury does occur, athletic trainers and clinicians can administer a post-concussion test to compare the results of the baseline test to the post-concussion test. This will provide vital information for making decisions regarding your child’s health and a timeline for return to play. This concussion baseline test should not be used as an IQ test and does not diagnose concussions or mental illness.
What “baseline” means
According to the CDC, “Baseline means the athlete is back to their regular school activities, is no longer experiencing symptoms from the injury when doing normal activities, and has a green light from their health care provider to begin the return to play process.”
Taking the concussion baseline test
This concussion baseline test takes around 30 minutes to complete. A computer with a keyboard and steady internet connection are required.
**You are responsible for downloading, saving, and printing your concussion baseline test report upon completion. You are responsible for sharing this report with your physician.**
“Compared to Peers” feature on test results
If you are between the age of 10 and 25, you will have access to the Compared to Peers section on the baseline report. This feature will be able to use your results in order to compare them to others in your age group. The Compared to Peers scores are not intended to and should not be used to make any sort of return to play decisions. Those values simply provide a general idea of how the individual scored compared to his or her peers. There are three possible groups in the Compared to Peers column:
- Above Average: scoring greater than one standard deviation higher than their peers.
- Average: scoring falls between Above Average and Below Average.
- Below Average: scoring less than one standard deviation lower than their peers.
About 2/3 of a individual’s peers will score Average. These groups are strictly defined by accepted psychometric statistics. Those scoring Below Average have a percentile rank of less than 16. Similarly, those scoring Above Average have a percentile rank of greater than 84. Individuals with extremely low scores that cannot improve upon retest might need to see a qualified healthcare provider for a more comprehensive workup. If you are a clinician and are interested in other types of neurocognitive testing in addition to concussion management/assessment, please visit the Concussion Vital Signs Clinician Portal.
MMC Concussion Test results alone are not evidence for returning your child to play sports. Clinicians should perform a comprehensive exam as needed. It is important to be aware that individuals who do not do their best on the baseline test might score higher on a post-concussion test, and this can cause inaccurate results and affect treatment decisions.
Please note that an “N/A” in the Compared to Peers column will appear in the reports of individuals older than 25 or younger than 10 and does not affect the results of the baseline status assessment (i.e., the results of the assessment would be the same with or without the Compared to Peers information).
The individual taking the test should do the following:
- Be sure he or she can sit uninterrupted for the entire testing period.
- Turn off all electronic devices.
- Become familiar with the test instructions prior to taking the test.
- Make sure the testing environment is free from distraction.
- Make sure there are no hand or arm injuries or seating challenges that might impede testing.
- Avoid testing while fatigued, distressed, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Wear any necessary glasses or corrective lenses.
- Verbal Memory Test – a 15-word memory test where the individual will respond with the spacebar if they have seen one of the words before when challenged with another word list.
- Visual Memory Test – a 15-image memory test where the individual will respond with the spacebar if they have seen one of the images before when challenged with another image list.
- Finger Tapping Test – the individual will tap the spacebar as many times as possible in 10 seconds. There will be three trials with each hand.
- Symbol Digit Coding Test – the individual will complete a grid where an answer key is presented and using the numbers from the key, match a number with a shape in the grid. The number keys across the top of the keyboard will be used to respond.
- Stroop Test – the individual will respond to colors and words in three different subtests.
- Shifting Attention Test – the individual will respond to changing rules (Match Color or Match Shape) by responding with the left and right arrow keys.
- Continuous Performance Test – the individual will respond with the spacebar each time they see a letter “B” on the screen.
*Sections 3-6 will allow you to practice first.