ImPACT Baseline Testing

So, I was surfing the internets last night and I randomly stumbled upon, which is a website for a baseline test (the test that all NHLers are required to take at the beginning of the season and the same one Sid will have to take in order to get cleared to play). I wasn't sure if this was the same baseline test that the NHL has until I checked their client list, which includes all NHL teams.

Having been searching for baseline testing information after the news broke that Sid had a concussion, I was now very curious. Mostly because I'm a nerd but partly because the topic is super relevant, I spent an hour reading the site. Because I know most you guys' idea of fun isn't doing the same and considering the fact that there seems to be some confusion about how concussions in sports are treated, I thought that I'd share my findings.

First of all,I checked out the overview of the test and the parts of it. I'm not sure why, but I was surprised at how difficult it looked and sounded. Since this part is interesting enough to hold your attention, and would be difficult to break down any simpler than it already is, I'll let you explore that section on your own.
The next section of the overview of the baseline test was reading the sample results. In the first part of this sample report, you can see the patient's progression as he recovered from his concussion. His results are all relative to the baseline test he took before his concussion. You'll notice that some of his results are in bold. What that means is the score change between his pre-concussion test and his post-concussion test are too great to return to play. By his 5th and final post concussion test, all areas are at a close enough area of change to his pre-concussion test and are therefore not in bold.


The information about the test is very comprehensive and I've only given a little taste with what I've said here. If I've somehow piqued your interest, here's a good place to start more in depth learning about the test.

The device was created and has its head quarters in, you guessed it, Pittsburgh, Pa. If the Pens ask for a second opinion (if they haven't already) from the doctors and experts associated with this company you know, as if he wasn't already, that Sid is in extremely good hands.


Maybe even more comprehensive is their information about concussions. Since I know you guys don't want to sift through all that, I'll block quote all the areas I found interesting and relative the case out Capt most likely has. Pensburgh's very own, SuMac, has already given out some of this information on other threads, so I'm really just putting it all together.

Note: Although I think it's a safe bet that the baseline test itself is what Sid will be taking, the treatment and diagnosis may not be how the Pens are handling it, so use the following information purely for your enlightenment. Essentially, take note of this, but don't think of it as absolute truth.

Concussion Overview



In a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) study of high school and college athletes with concussion, on-the-field amnesia, not loss of consciousness, as long thought, was predictive of post-injury symptom severity and neurocognitive deficits.

- Step-wise return to play
1. No activity - rest until asymptomatic (Symptoms are gone)
2. Light aerobic exercise
3. Sport-specific training
4. Non-contact drills
5. Full-contact drills
6. Game play



Management Recommendations by Dr. Michael Lee

Subsequently, how long the concussion symptoms last has turned out to be far more important than the initial symptoms of concussions in predicting outcomes.... 

We have learned many new facts about concussions:

  • Concussion manifestations vary from individual to individual.
  • Lesser blows can cause more symptoms, harder blows may cause fewer symptoms. (Emphasis mine)
  • Younger athletes (in high school or in loer grades) have been shown to exhibit longer recovery times when compared to college and professional athletes. vi
  • There may be a significant risk if they return to play too quickly.
  • A gene may exist that causes some individuals to be more susceptible to concussions. viii What we now know is that each concussion should be treated individually depending on the symptoms and the neuro-cognitive test results. This may be the reason why standardized management guidelines were unsuccessful. The following recommendations are made to improve concussion management and speed the recovery process.

    No athletes should return to contact competitive sports until they are symptom free, both at rest and with exercise and have normal neuro-cognitive testing.

    Usually concussed athletes will start to recover rapidly once the feelings of fogginess and being slowed down disappear. Students may literally wake up one morning and say, "Wow, I'm back to normal!" When they have no headaches or other concussion symptoms athletes can begin the concussion graduated return-to-play exercise program that was recommended at the Prague Concussion Conference.

    Day 1: Walking for 20-30 minutes at a rate of 2-1/2 miles per hour
    Day 2: Jogging for 20-30 minutes
    Day 3: Running for 20-30 minutes
    Day 4: Performing sports specific practice drills
    Day 5: Return to contact sports if RECOMMENDATION #5 is met

    If headaches or other symptoms occur, during any step, the activity needs to be stopped. The athlete should then wait 24 hours and start at the previous level again.

    This makes it clearer why the Pens will be keeping Sid out a week once his symptoms are gone.

    Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)

    The term mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is used interchangeably with the term concussion. An MTBI or concussion is defined as a complex pathophysiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head. MTBI is caused by a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the function of the brain. This disturbance of brain function is typically associated with normal structural neuroimaging findings (i.e., CT scan, MRI). MTBI results in a constellation of physical, cognitive, emotional and/or sleep-related symptoms and may or may not involve a loss of consciousness (LOC). Duration of symptoms is highly variable and may last from several minutes to days, weeks, months, or even longer in some cases.1,2


    I think that's all that caught my eye as it pertains to Sid. I hope I've enlightened you somewhat.

    The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.