Representative baseline values on the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2) in adolescent athletes vary by gender, grade, and concussion history

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Apr;40(4):927-33. doi: 10.1177/0363546511431573. Epub 2012 Jan 11.


Background: To improve and standardize the sideline evaluation of sports-related concussion, the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2) was developed. This tool assesses concussion-related signs and symptoms, cognition, balance, and coordination. This newly published assessment tool has not established representative baseline data on adolescent athletes.

Hypothesis: Representative baseline SCAT2 scores in adolescent athletes will differ by gender, grade in school, and self-reported concussion history.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Interscholastic athletes were administered the SCAT2 during a preseason concussion baseline testing session. The SCAT2 total score ranges from 0 to 100 points, with lower scores indicating poorer performance. Overall, representative values were calculated using descriptive statistics. Separate independent-samples t tests, with gender and concussion history as the independent variables, and a 1-way analysis of variance, with grade as the independent variable, were conducted to assess differences in SCAT2 total score (P < .05).

Results: There were 1134 high school athletes (872 male and 262 female) who participated. The SCAT2 total score across all participants was 88.3 ± 6.8 (range, 58-100); skewness was -0.86 ± 0.07, and kurtosis was 0.73 ± 0.14. Male athletes scored significantly lower on the SCAT2 total score (P = .03; 87.7 ± 6.8 vs 88.7 ± 6.8), and 9th graders (86.9 ± 6.8) scored significantly lower than 11th (88.7 ± 7.0) and 12th (89.0 ± 6.6) graders (P < .001). Athletes with a self-reported concussion history scored significantly lower on the SCAT2 total score than those with no concussion history (P < .001; 87.0 ± 6.8 vs 88.7 ± 6.5).

Conclusion: These data provide representative scores on the SCAT2 in adolescent athletes and show that male athletes, 9th graders, and those with a self-reported concussion history scored significantly lower than their female, upperclassmen, or nonconcussed peers.

Clinical relevance: These results suggest that healthy adolescent athletes display variability on the SCAT2 at baseline. Therefore, clinicians should administer baseline assessments of the SCAT2 because assuming a perfect baseline score of 100 points is not appropriate in an adolescent athlete population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arizona
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis*
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Self Report
  • Trauma Severity Indices