Objective: Concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury, and results from impact or impulsive forces to the head, neck or face. Due to the variability and subtlety of symptoms, concussions may go unrecognized or be ignored, especially with the pressure placed on athletes to return to competition. The King-Devick (KD) test, an oculomotor test originally designed for reading evaluation, was recently validated as a concussion screening tool in collegiate athletes. A prospective study was performed using high school football players in an attempt to study the KD as a concussion screening tool in this younger population.
Methods: 343 athletes from four local high school football teams were recruited to participate. These athletes were given baseline KD tests prior to competition. Individual demographic information was collected on the subjects. Standard team protocol was employed to determine if a concussion had occurred during competition. Immediately after diagnosis, the KD test was re-administered to the concussed athlete for comparison to baseline. Post-season testing was also performed in non-concussed individuals.
Results: Of the 343 athletes, nine were diagnosed with concussions. In all concussed players, cumulative read times for the KD test were significantly increased (p<0.001). Post-season testing of non-concussed athletes revealed minimal change in read times relative to baseline. Univariate analysis revealed that history of concussion was the only demographic factor predictive of concussion in this cohort.
Conclusion: The KD test is an accurate and easily administered sideline screening tool for concussion in adolescent football players.
Keywords: Diffuse axonal injury; Football; Neuropsychological tests; Post-concussion syndrome; Traumatic brain injury; Visual motor coordination.
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