To B(aseline) or not to B(aseline). Surely that’s not a question.

Muscle capacity, Yo-Yo, Counter movement jump. Tick

Heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Tick

Gait analysis, technical analysis, biomechanics. Tick

Now the brain.


Such a drag, and something that bores the players. A common response from colleagues who work in sport when discussing concussion baseline testing.

But before resigning our interest let’s consider the why, the what and the how.



In simple terms screening is a reference point, an opportunity to gain some insight.

Is it the best a person can be? No.

Is it how the person is functioning on that particular day – no more no less.

Sporting endeavour can require exceptional musculoskeletal capability, cardiovascular attributes that blow the mind (let alone the lungs), and technical nuances that provide a foundation for consistent performance –understanding some of the data that that underpins these super human feats can be valuable.

Additionally, sport can require cognition, balance, emotional control, eyes that work accurately and at speed.

It makes sense that gleaning a rounded view on these factors may have its uses too.

Whether used as a reference point for comparison in a time of challenge (concussion being one of the more obvious possibilities); or to provide an understanding of functional capabilities (something that can be used to identify areas to be worked on), or simply used as a comparison between peers (one that may provide a layer of insight when it comes to talent identification) the insights gained are there to help.



Tests come and tests go, sometimes led by research, sometimes by fashion.

As the brain does so many things, a better baseline test is one that is multimodal.

And the insights are not simply a list of numbers and objective markers. Understanding the subjective and the history is important too. If you know that someone suffers from migraines, or is challenged by poor sleep quality, that can only help if evaluating symptoms post a possible concussive episode.

How is the persons mental health? Do they have any learning challenges? Is ADHD an issue? Further things that help complete a holistic picture.



Well, that will be down to you – there are a range of tests that can be used.

Considering the amount of time that is spent looking at muscle balances, joint range, speed, power and technique, it is ironic that looking at the very organ that controls these things is considered such a chore.