With your parents’ consent, you will be invited to attend the Sports Surgery Clinic to complete a pre-season screening session.
The assessment will take up to three hours and will be conducted by highly experienced medical staff who will take every measure to ensure your safety and health during testing.
|Online questionnaire: This will be undertaken in pre-season. You will be asked to answer questions about your medical history, previous injuries and playing history e.g. what sports you play, what sports you play, what level you play at and how long you have played for. We will also ask about your sleep and mood. These questions allow us to get a picture of your normal day to day behaviour and what conditions you may have had or currently have as you join the study
If you are suspected of having a concussion, a minimum of two medical assessments will be required during the recovery period (i.e. the initial concussion assessment and the medical clearance to return to play).
Participants will be asked to attend SSC Concussion Clinic where postinjury assessment will take place.
Following each assessment, you will be provided with a written report on the day of testing. Although, an individualised rehabilitation programme will be given based on the findings of these tests, athletes diagnosed with a concussion will adhere to the IRFU guidelines and will not return to play before the ecommended 23 days.
Axon Sports Test
This test is a computerised brain health assessment. It measures reaction time, learning and memory skills, attention, concentration and problem solving capacity. Concussion has been shown to leave players with deficits in these types of brain activities. It is important to test these qualities before the season begins so we have baseline results to compare to at a later stage.
This test will take two-minutes to complete. You will be required to read single digit numbers displayed on a screen. It measures the speed and accuracy of your eye movements. Research has shown that impaired eye movement, poor attention and difficulty with language can be identified using this test, indicating suboptimal brain function. It is a useful pre-season test to establish your normal ability.
Immediately or soon after a suspected head trauma, you will be asked to complete the King–Devick Test again. The doctor or researcher will be assessing whether the time to complete the test is longer than your baseline test time and/or if there are errors.
Balance testing is a way for doctors to assess how well the part of the brain that controls movement is functioning. You will be asked to complete several balance tests in pre-season and if there is a suspected concussion.
You will be assessed standing on two legs, standing on one leg and standing heel to toe. Testers will assess for errors of movement and body sway during this test.
Another test will require the use of more sophisticated force plate technology.
Force plates can measure how much a person sways when standing in certain positions. Studies have shown that patients with sports concussions tend to sway more than healthy persons up to 30 days after injury, depending on the severity of injury.
Exercise Challenge Test
Exercising can exacerbate symptoms of concussion. Testers will observe your body’s ability to regulate your heart rate, your blood pressure and monitor your symptoms of concussion while you exercise on a treadmill.
International return to play guidelines recommend that athletes should be able to exercise maximally without symptoms before they are allowed to return to play.
Blood will be taken to measure some baseline markers of concussion and again if there is a diagnosed concussion. Providing you are happy, the blood will be stored to allow us to analyse the sample at a later date as our knowledge of concussion improves
and new techniques such as genetic testing are discovered.
Blood that is stored will be marked with acode and remain anonymous and we will not be able to relate the sample back to you.
Researchers will be checking to see if recovery time post concussion is different in those who carry a specific gene compared to those who do not.
Blood samples will be destroyed after 24months.
ICS Impulse Test
ICS Impulse goggles allow assessment of vestibular and oculomotor deficiencies with greater accuracy allowing faster diagnosis.
A high-speed camera, light weight and built in calibration lasers,help to provide feedback quickly. It has multiple functions allowing it to assess your inner ear system, you vision system, your eye control and helps to provide clear data that can be interpreted by the clinician at SSC.
Activity & Sleep Monioring
Each participant who suffers a concussion will be given a Fitbit Activity Monitor to sense user movement. This sensor tracks steps taken and combines it with user data to calculate distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed and activity duration and intensity.
It also measures sleep quality by tracking periods of restlessness, how long it takes the wearer to fall asleep and how long they are actually asleep.
The data collected will be downloaded at each subsequent visit to SSC.