Testing & Diagnosis for Concussions in Children

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How is a concussion diagnosed?

Typically, we will first perform a neurological and physical exam of your child and obtain a full medical history. We will also conduct a standardized assessment of his balance and coordination, and use computerized tests to measure any effects on his neurocognitive functioning – how well his brain works when processing certain kinds of information.

If your child plays sports, ideally he will have had a baseline test performed before his injury that we can use for comparison after a concussion. Here at Children’s, we use a system called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) to track a child’s progress as he heals. The goal is to get him to a point where his scores match what they were before his concussion.

Because this type of testing is so precise, and gives such a clear picture of a child’s neurological and cognitive functioning after a concussion, we strongly recommend that any child or adolescent who plays sports – particularly high-concussion-risk sports like ice hockey, football, rugby and soccer – be tested. Learn more

Concussions and CT scans

Lise Nigrovic, MD, MPH co-led a study suggesting that the frequency of CT scans can be reduced by over 50 percent by allowing an observation period after minor head blunt trauma, such as a concussion.


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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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