by Alex Gometz, DPT, CIC
A recent study finds group approaches to baselines are less reliable. This study is a cohort comparison evaluating the differences in results in skills assessed during neurocognitive baseline testing in groups of athletes versus individualized approaches. Decreased performance was demonstrated in the group setting, in which test takers scored significantly lower on verbal memory and exhibited a greater rate of invalid baselines.
The above referenced study brings to lite the importance of a sound clinical evaluation by healthcare professionals who are most appropriate to make the best use of current evaluating tools. It is, or it should be, common knowledge that a baseline test is important to guiding post injury recovery, and for it to be true it has to be done correctly in conjunction with any other tools available. In many instances, the focus has been on the test performed rather than the clinician’s ability to administer it for best results.
It makes sense therefore to stay away from group assessments due to the expected lack of individualization of the assessment and therefore increased chance of inaccuracies. A study may not have been needed to make that point. It is obvious that the less attention to detail the less accuracy of the information collected.
Head injuries may happen in different environments and when they happen in sports setting they shouldn’t take a lighter approach at any stage weather it is a baseline or management post injury. There may be more benefits realized when left to health care professionals with experience and licensed to deal with the assessment and rehabilitation of brain injury from the beginning to end of the process.