Using Telehealth, concussion care specialists may make a diagnosis and design an individualized treatment plan.
Concussion online tests are one of the methods your doctor may use to diagnose a concussion. Read on to find out what it is, its types, and when to get tested.
A concussion is a mild brain injury caused by violent shaking or bouncing of the brain inside the skull. This injury results in chemical changes inside the brain. As a result, your brain functions are disrupted, causing several symptoms, such as:
- Unusual mood changes
- Memory and balance problems
- Altered consconsiousnes
- Inability to focus
While most affected people completely recover following treatment, untreated concussions or delayed treatment can lead to long-term brain damage.
Click here to learn more about concussions in sports.
A Quick Look at Concussions in the U.S.
Studies show that nearly 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur each year, and sports and recreational activities account for over 300,000 of these cases. 1
Alarmingly, half of all concussions are unreported, and nearly 5.3 million Americans live with TBI-related disabilities. 2 Thus, it is clear that (pre- and post-injury) concussion testing can play a critical role in lowering the burden of concussions and associated complications.
What is An Online Concussion Test?
Online concussion testing uses computerized methods to assess brain functions after an injury, including:
- Speed of thinking and solving problems (cognition)
- Ability to recall information
- Balance and coordination
Baseline Concussion Testing
Baseline testing is a pre-season assessment that checks an athlete’s balance, memory, and cognition. Also called pre-injury testing, these tests are performed by trained healthcare professionals, usually before the first practice.
Healthcare professionals may compare baseline and post-injury test results to detect brain function changes due to the injury. The observed differences can also be used to make return-to-play decisions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends computerized or paper-pencil tests every 1 or 2 years. 3 However, more frequent tests may be necessary if an athlete has a history of concussion.
Why Do You Need Online Concussion Tests?
Concussions often do not appear on imaging tests, such as MRI and CT scans. As such, many experts do not recommend routine imaging for sport-related concussions.
Moreover, the American Association of Neurology and the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine Guidelines recommend imaging only if there is a suspected skull fracture or bleeding inside the brain. 4
Thus, considering the lack of accurate imaging tests and the subtlety of concussions, concussions tests can be a valuable tool for identifying and quantifying changes in brain functions.
Furthermore, when combined with Telehealth, these tests can save time and money while guiding you through the diagnostic and recovery procedures.
Lastly, one should note that early diagnosis is crucial to recovery, and consulting a specialist is paramount, as no brain injury is the same, and each case requires individualized care.
What Are the Various Online Concussion Tests?
Several online concussion tests are available. Nonetheless, remember that some tests may not be FDA-approved.
So far, the only FDA-approved online concussion tests are the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and ImPACT Pediatric. Other popular concussion online tests include XLNTbrain and Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT).
Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT)
This computerized test is FDA-approved for individuals 12 years and older. The pediatric version is for children between 5 and 11 years. 5
This test assesses an athlete’s memory and reaction time, which can be valuable for evaluating someone with a suspected concussion. In addition, healthcare professionals use the ImPACT test to measure progress in recovery and design a treatment plan effectively.
As the name suggests, this test should be used immediately after a concussion. It lasts about 25 minutes and includes timed questions about:
- Speed of processing information
- Verbal memory
- Visual memory
- Visual motor speed
- Multi-tasking ability
(Pronounced excellent brain)
This online concussion test helps healthcare providers identify and manage concussions. Available as a mobile app, the test:
- Records time, date, sport, injury, observed and reported symptoms
- Checks word memory and orientation
- Assesses balance using the smartphone’s accelerometer
- Ranks concussion-risk as color codes (red, yellow, green)
- Includes Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and Cranial Nerve Assessment for medical personnel
- Alerts parents and designated healthcare professionals about a suspected concussion through emails
- Provides results on the XLNTbrain.com dashboard
- Includes daily symptoms checklist for injured athletes to measure progress in post-concussion recovery
Learn more about XLNTbrain here.
Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT)
CATT contains a series of online modules and resources that aim to standardize concussion identification, diagnosis, treatment, and management.
7 CATT online educational modules—all free of charge—are available:
- CATT for Medical Professionals
- CATT for Coaches
- CATT for Parents
- CATT for School Professionals
- CATT for Athletes
- CATT for Workers and Workplaces
- CATT for Women’s Support Worker
When to Get Tested for a Concussion?
Anyone with a blow to the head or a whiplash should get tested for a concussion, regardless of the symptoms.
Can You Give Yourself a Concussion Test?
You may take an online concussion test on your own. What’s crucial is how to interpret the results. Only trained healthcare professionals can accurately interpret the results.
Moreover, they need a series of tests to confirm a diagnosis. Thus, never attempt to diagnose a concussion.
How Do You Know If You Have a Mild Concussion?
There is no way to know if you have a mild concussion. In many cases, the affected person does not lose consciousness or complain of severe symptoms, even though they have a concussion.
Thus, the best way to diagnose a concussion is to seek professional help immediately after a hit on your head. You can do so using Telehealth, which will save you time and money.
Concussion online tests are simple yet valuable tools for managing concussions. They help track progress in recovery and aid return-to-play decisions. However, many online tests are not FDA-approved and are not intended for confirming a diagnosis.
Concussions, regardless of their severity, require expert care from specialists to minimize the risk of long-term complications and promote a full recovery.
New article in @JHTRonline! Nice to see a summary & outline of clinical workflows from concussion care clinics! We’ve been using telehealth for hybrid neuropsychological concussion testing (P&P Testing and @impacttest) since March 2020. https://t.co/CDxIvORdmC
— Kaitlin Riegler, M.S. (@Kriegler25) August 3, 2021
Telemedicine visits may be reimbursed at the same rates as in-person visits so long as your clinic has the proper documentation and billing procedures in place.
Learn more: https://t.co/bkSUHiYlQk#Telehealth pic.twitter.com/HDowozXIDV
— ImPACT Applications (@impacttest) November 2, 2022
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Nonfatal traumatic brain injuries from sports and recreation activities–United States, 2001-2005.” MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report vol. 56,29 (2007): 733-7.
- Grubenhoff, Joseph A et al. “Evaluation of the standardized assessment of concussion in a pediatric emergency department.” Pediatrics vol. 126,4 (2010): 688-95. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-2804
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FAQs about Baseline Testing. Accessed November 16, 2022.
- Guenette, Jeffrey P et al. “Imaging of Concussion in Young Athletes.” Neuroimaging clinics of North America vol. 28,1 (2018): 43-53. doi:10.1016/j.nic.2017.09.004
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA allows marketing of first-of-kind computerized cognitive tests to help assess cognitive skills after a head injury. Accessed November 16, 2022.