Each year, there are between 1.7 and 3 million sports-related concussions reported, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Unsurprisingly, 300,000 are football-related. The college also reports that 2 in 10 high school athletes who play contact sports will suffer a concussion this year.
Over the past several years, concussion research and treatment has become a hot topic, mainly due to the increase in CTE cases found in former athletes. Increasing news media coverage of concussions in contact sports has propelled the medical field to address a growing need for service and care. Specifically, because of their specialized knowledge and training, balance centers and specialists are uniquely positioned to respond to this opportunity.
The Growth Opportunity
With the right instrumentation and training for concussion management, balance centers and specialists can help with diagnosis and treatment. Oftentimes, a procedure to follow when a post-injury change is detected is missing. Balance specialists can fill this void by providing an essential component to enhance concussion management programs. They can become the source of referral after a concussion diagnosis is made.
Rehab for balance issues and vestibular dysfunction is a crucial part of the treatment plan for concussions, and balance professionals can offer these specialized services with the right training and instrumentation. This creates more opportunity for balance centers to receive referrals for concussion evaluation and therapy.
Adding concussion screening not only adds another marketable service, it also can be developed as a fee-for-service revenue generator. It can be billed on a per-person basis or by a group subscription for a team or school. It can also be beneficial in educating athletes and their families and reinforcing the need for treatment if problems are found.
Not only can balance screening protocols for concussion management establish individual baseline performance levels, they can also identify other undiagnosed orthopedic issues that can help improve balance. In addition to helping you grow your practice, adding a balance screening program for concussion management to your clinic can help gather valuable data for athletes, trainers, and coaches that will enable them to set better targets for improved performance.
A balance test for athletes, Bertec COBALT™ can be used as part of a concussion screening and management program by providing an objective measure of balance control when relying on visual, somatosensory, and vestibular demands. Patented by Bertec, the COBALT™ protocol includes a unique set of testing conditions that places high demands on the visual and vestibular systems that traditional static balance testing does not provide.
The COBALT™ protocols include a total of eight test conditions, four of which are completed with the patient standing on a firm surface while the other four are completed by the patient on a foam pad. The patient performs the same movements on both service types. As the test progresses, conditions get progressively more challenging, with head turns included to stimulate dynamic vestibular inputs and visual motion sensitivity.
Additional benefits of Cobalt™ include pre-season baseline testing, sensitivity to changes in performance, highly accurate and reliable data from Bertec’s dual-balance force plate, and eight standardized test conditions (including head turn and visual motion sensitivity, as well as conditions to increase vestibular challenge).
Learn more about COBALT™ today. Download and read Bertec’s case study about how COBALT™ helped a 14-year old athlete return to play after suffering a concussion.
For more information on Bertec COBALT™, get in touch with your local e3 office. They’d be happy to answer your questions or set up a personal demonstration. Get in touch today!