Baseline testing: a unique approach to concussion care

Concussion is a common occurrence in children resulting in long term consequences beyond just physical symptoms. Mental, emotional and behavioural issues can occur if a concussion is not treated and managed effectively when the injury happens.

The Holland Bloorview Concussion Centre offers a wide range of concussion services; all with the goal of getting youth back to the activities they want, need and love to do. Backed by our renowned experts in the field of youth concussion care, research and education, we have developed a ground-breaking pediatric baseline concussion program to help us achieve this goal.

Baseline testing is a valuable service designed to help youth safely return to activity after sustaining a concussion. Baseline testing is recommended by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation’s Guidelines for Pediatric Concussion as an annual test for any child enrolled in organized sports.

During our baseline test, youth go through a combination of neuro-cognitive and physical tests. We don’t just look at a single measure, like memory or processing speed, because having a greater number of measures provides a fuller picture of brain and body health. The neuro-cognitive test measures verbal and visual memory, reaction time and processing speed. During the physical testing, areas such as strength, agility, speed and balance are assessed. Together, these results provide a comprehensive picture about your brain and body’s performance.

If a child is suspected of having a concussion, the baseline testing series is repeated to give a post-injury picture of how the brain and body are performing. Comparing the post-injury results to the original baseline test results give a physician critical information to make the right diagnosis about the concussion, have a better understanding about the impact of the concussion and help design an individualized rehabilitation program that more accurately determines when it is safe for a child to return to activity.

What makes the baseline testing program at the Holland Bloorview Concussion Centre so unique? Despite being one of the world’s first to focus exclusively on pediatric concussion, we also have a team of dedicated clinicians specifically trained in pediatric brain injury and researchers who are leading experts in the field of youth concussion spearheading the program. This means our baseline testing program is informed by the latest research happening at the Bloorview Research Institute, onsite at Holland Bloorview, ensuring that youth get the most evidence-based program available.

Youth ages 10-18 qualify for the program and are recommended to be tested annually, especially if they are active and enrolled in sports. However, concussion related accidents can occur anywhere from the school playground to your own backyard; therefore baseline testing is helpful for all children, despite their enrollment in recreational or competitive sports. The ideal time to be tested is in the pre-season or during an injury-free period, so contact our team today to schedule your child’s baseline test.

For more information please contact or call (416) 425-6220 ext 6490