A Cohort Study of the Temporal Stability of ImPACT Scores Among NCAA Division I Collegiate Athletes: Clinical Implications of Test-Retest Reliability for Enhancing Student Athlete Safety

Arch Clin Neuropsychol -

Mason, S. J., Davidson, B. S., Lehto, M., Ledreux, A., Granholm, A. C., & Gorgens, K. A..



OBJECTIVE: In this study we examined the temporal stability of the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT) within NCAA Division I athletes across various timepoints using an exhaustive series of statistical models. METHODS: Within a cohort design, 48 athletes completed repeated baseline ImPACT assessments at various timepoints. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated using a two-way mixed effects model with absolute agreement. RESULTS: Four ImPACT composite scores (Verbal Memory, Visual Memory, Visual Motor Speed, and Reaction Time) demonstrated moderate reliability (ICC = 0.51-0.66) across the span of a typical Division I athlete’s career, which is below previous reliability recommendations (0.90) for measures used in individual decision-making. No evidence of fixed bias was detected within Verbal Memory, Visual Motor Speed, or Reaction Time composite scores, and minimal detectable change values exceeded the limits of agreement. CONCLUSIONS: The demonstrated temporal stability of the ImPACT falls below the published recommendations, and as such, fails to provide robust support for the NCAA’s recommendation to obtain a single preparticipation cognitive baseline for use in sports-related concussion management throughout an athlete’s career. Clinical interpretation guidelines are provided for clinicians who utilize baseline ImPACT scores for later performance comparisons.

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