Saccades and memory: baseline associations of the King-Devick and SCAT2 SAC tests in professional ice hockey players

J Neurol Sci. 2013 May 15;328(1-2):28-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2013.02.008. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

Abstract

Objective: The Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2) and King-Devick (K-D) tests have both been proposed as sideline tools to detect sports-related concussion. We performed an exploratory analysis to determine the relation of SCAT2 components, particularly the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), to K-D test scores in a professional ice hockey team cohort during pre-season baseline testing. We also examined changes in scores for two athletes who developed concussion and had rinkside testing.

Methods: A modified SCAT2 (no balance testing) and the K-D test, a brief measure of rapid number naming, were administered to 27 members of a professional ice hockey team during the 2011-2012 pre-season. Athletes with concussion also underwent rinkside testing.

Results: Lower (worse) scores for the SCAT2 SAC Immediate Memory Score and the overall SAC score were associated with greater (worse) times required to complete the K-D test at baseline. On average, for every 1-point reduction in SAC Immediate Memory Score, we found a corresponding increase (worsening) of K-D time score of 7.3s (95% CI 4.9, 9.7, p<0.001, R(2)=0.62, linear regression, accounting for age). For the overall SAC score, 1-point reductions were associated with K-D score worsening of 2.2s (95% CI 0.6, 3.8, p=0.01, R(2)=0.25, linear regression). In two players tested rinkside immediately following concussion, K-D test scores worsened from baseline by 4.2 and 6.4s. These athletes had no differences found for SCAT2 SAC components, but reported symptoms of concussion.

Conclusion: In this study of professional athletes, scores for the K-D test, a measure for which saccadic (fast) eye movements are required for the task of rapid number naming, were associated with reductions in Immediate Memory at a pre-season baseline. Both working memory and saccadic eye movements share closely related anatomical structures, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). A composite of brief rapid sideline tests, including SAC and K-D (and balance testing for non-ice hockey sports), is likely to provide an effective clinical tool to assess the athlete with suspected concussion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Concussion* / complications
  • Brain Concussion* / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion* / etiology
  • Hockey / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / diagnosis
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / etiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Young Adult