Physician Led • Outcomes Centered • Patient Focused

Pre-Concussion Baseline Testing


Computer-Based “Pre-Concussion” Testing

How to sign-up:

1.   Call Stadia: 515-221-1102

2.   Let us know: Patient’s name, date of birth, parent’s name, telephone number, email, address, etc.

3.   Schedule an appointment to take the computer-based test in our office.

4. Pre-concussion baseline testing is not covered by insurance and will require payment at the time of service. *Typically this cost is $50 but may change without notice as our costs may increase

What is computer-based concussion testing and why is it relevant? Over the years, several computer-based tests have been developed which are designed to assess mental function in athletes, measuring things such as processing speed, attention and memory.  Following a concussion injury, any of these variables can become impaired. For the most part, these tests are only clinically useful if an athlete’s performance after an injury can be compared with scores on the same test, taken earlier in a pre-injured state.  In general, these tests have a higher ability to detect changes in brain function than the clinical exam alone. The single largest barrier to use of this technology following an injury is lack of a prior valid baseline test.

Who is eligible? Typically discussed with athletes participating in contact sports, this test is a valuable tool for anyone participating in a variety of activities and non-contact sports.  This test has been useful in injuries sustained from car accidents, victims of domestic attacks, horseback riding, skateboarding and other leisure activities.

What is involved with the test itself? The test itself takes an average of 8-10 minutes to perform. Prior to taking the official test, each athlete should complete a practice test (available free-of- charge) to eliminate learning-related test improvements.  Total time to complete baseline testing averages 15-20 minutes.  Athletes will be informed if their test is considered an acceptable baseline. If unacceptable (approximately 10% of all test takers do not pass their initial test), the athlete will be instructed to repeat the test after a reasonable break.  There is no charge for repeated test attempts.

What happens with the test data once it has been obtained? Nothing, unless an athlete sustains a concussion injury during the course of his/her season.  All test data remains confidential.  If an injury does occur, we can arrange post-injury testing for the athlete at an appropriate time. This is typically done once an athlete’s other concussion symptoms have cleared, but is ultimately dependent on the judgment of the physician providing care. Although post-injury testing can be processed through insurance, no athlete at Stadia will be turned away from testing due to lack of insurance.

Is test performance the only factor used in return-to-play decisions? No. Athletes who have sustained concussion injury undergo periodic symptom surveys, balance assessment and, once clearly improving, graded exercise assessment, both on the treadmill and with agility testing on the exercise floor. Athletes also need to be able to demonstrate tolerance to their usual course load at school.  Computer-based testing however, adds another layer of safety to an athlete with a concussion injury and grounds medical decision-making in more objective data.

Why is Stadia Sports Medicine doing this? It’s in line with our core area of expertise, which is the care of injured athletes.  Concussion care is a somewhat specialized area of medicine, and although we already provide high-level services in this area, the widespread addition of baseline concussion testing to the student-athlete population in Des Moines would enhance our clinical capabilities when an injury does occur.



Nih medlineplus the magazine. (2015). Doug Flutie: “Be on the Safe Side”. Retrieved 27 January, 2016, from

Covassin, T., Ph.D., ATC, & Elbin, R., M.A. (2012, January 13). Sport-Related Concussions. Retrieved January 27, 2016, from

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