Sports related Concussions and Cognitive Testing

Last fall the National Football League issued new guidelines for players who receive a concussion on the field.  While there are several loopholes that allow players with traumatic brain injuries to stay in the game (including injury underreporting by players), the guidelines set a consistent framework for how brain trauma is identified and monitored within the NFL.

Part of this framework is an independent evaluation by a neurologist and cognitive diagnostic testing before a player is allowed back on the field.  Specialized groups like sports teams and the military have taken the lead on baseline cognitive testing for their members, since the environments they operate in contain heightened risk for traumatic brain injuries.

Since individual performance can vary widely in cognitive subtests (and still be in the normal range), being able to compare test results after a concussion to a baseline test can help determine whether a person has healed sufficiently to resume activities.