Peak Performance Sports & Spine


MAY 2020



At Peak Performance, we have been working to offer our patients a variety of baseline neurocognitive tests, which are vital for athletes and nonathletes alike. Baseline tests provide insight into the physical and mental well-being of a person prior to concussion. It is our hope that the data from these baselines will not need to be accessed; however, it is essential that this data is collected in case someone sustains a concussion. These assessments are often the only objective measure we have to compare against as we work to rehabilitate patients with a concussion. They help us determine if a patient is ready to safely return to sport, work, or recreational activity. In previous newsletters, we’ve written about one of our most utilized baseline tests through the Senaptec Sensory Station. This computerized device allows athletes to assess their motor and sensory skills through a series of 10 tests. It can be used to help our patients improve their sensory, motor, and cognitive performance and may lower the risk of suffering a concussion during competition. More recently, we began offering another baseline test in our clinic called Concussion Vital Signs. The Concussion Vital Signs baseline assessment is a computerized neurocognitive exam that establishes a patient’s baseline through a variety of tasks. This is a critical test for all athletes to undergo prior to entering into competition. Concussions Vital Signs has been substantiated for individuals ages 10–25. Young competitive athletes, recreational athletes, firefighters, police officers, and other service members who have higher risk jobs can utilize this test to establish a valid baseline for themselves. As mentioned above, a patient would ideally complete this assessment prior to sustaining a concussion, and the assessment would function as a prophylactic measure that helps us gain insight into them before they arrive at the clinic. This baseline assessment gives our physical therapists a snapshot of how patients move, think, and react in their sport, job, or daily life. It is an important tool our physical therapists use to decide on treatment that will provide the best outcome.

The exam typically takes 45 minutes to complete from start to finish. Any laptop computer or tablet with a keyboard can be used to complete the assessment. The test can be completed remotely but is typically completed in a clinic under quiet, focused conditions. Concussion Vital Signs consists of a series of short-term memorization tasks. These tasks test several categories: verbal memory, visual memory, psychomotor speed, executive function, and cognitive flexibility. At first, these tasks might seem mundane or boring, but they require a lot of cognitive focus from the patient to give us the results we need to establish a valid baseline. We implemented Concussion Vital Signs in March, and while we’ve only been using it for a few months, athletic trainers in the Yakima Valley have been using this assessment for high school athletes for several years. As many junior high

and middle schools in the valley do not have athletic trainers, we saw that there was more potential for this to help others, and we’re proud to offer this service to our patients and many individuals in the valley. If you want to learn more about our baseline tests, feel free to contact the office any time.

–Thad Callaghan

• 1 509-453-PEAK (7325)

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