Introduction: Researchers have yet to explore the association of acute (i.e., within 3 days) post-injury VOMS scores and length of time until clearance to return to play in collegiate athletes.
Objective: The purpose was to determine if individual Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) component symptom scores (e.g., smooth pursuits, convergence, vestibular-ocular reflex) can predict clearance to return to activity from a sport-related concussion.
Methods: Pre-season demographic and medical history and post-injury VOMS testing were collected (n = 79) on collegiate student-athletes following concussion. Impaired vestibulo-ocular function post-injury scores (≥2) were compared to normal scores using survival analysis, with days to clearance to return to sport as the outcome.
Results: Abnormal scores on smooth pursuits (p =.026), horizontal saccades (p =.025), vertical saccades (p =.028), and convergence (p =.031) were associated with lower probability of clearance in comparison with normal scores. Any score ≥2 predicted significantly greater days to clearance for return to play (13.1 days; 95% CI: 11.9-14.3; p = .025) compared with athletes with no abnormal test scores (9.6 days; 95% CI: 7.2-12.1, P =.014).
Discussion: Post-injury symptoms with VOMS smooth pursuit, saccades, and convergence is associated with increased time-to-clearance for return to sport in collegiate athletes.
Keywords: Concussion; VOMS; athlete; ocular; recovery; vestibular.