Pre-Participation Physical Examinations
It is imperative to recognize each athlete’s history of concussion so that those athletes at higher risk can be identified. Athletes with a history of concussion are not only at a significantly higher risk of repeated injury, they are also more susceptible to long-term effects of concussion, including post-concussion syndrome. Educational outreach to these athletes is critical.
Because previous concussions may have gone unrecognized, athletes should not only be asked about their history of diagnosed concussions, they should also be asked if they have ever experienced any of the signs and symptoms consistent with the injury. Clinical history should also detail information about other previous head, face or cervical spine injuries.
In addition to obtaining a clinical history, it is also beneficial to obtain baseline measurements that can be used for comparison purposes if and when a concussive injury occurs. Such measurements can be obtained through Graded Symptom Scale Checklists, Neurocognitive tests such as ImPACT, and the Balance Error Scoring System.