Evaluating Computerized Neurocognitive Testing Practices of Sports Medicine Professionals

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2009 Aug;

24(5):484.

Elbin, R. J., T. Covassin, A. Kontos, E. Larson and J. Stiller-Ostrowski.

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Abstract:

Objective: To examine implementation and practice trends of sports medicine professionals using computerized neurocognitive testing (i.e., ImPACT) in high school and collegiate sports. Method: The current study employed a cross-sectional webbased survey design. Sports medicine professionals from 1,219 college or high school institutions using ImPACT were recruited to participate in the study. Approximately 33% (n ¼ 399) of the targeted sports medicine professionals completed the survey. The survey included 20 items developed and validated by experts to evaluate sports medicine professionals’ use of neurocognitive testing practices. Survey items assessed post-concussive neurocognitive testing protocols and scenarios for return-to-play decisions based on neurocognitive testing and symptoms. Chi-square/odds ratio (OR) analyses were used to examine differences between sports medicine professionals at the high school and college level. Results: Only 51.9% of the sample reported examining baseline tests for validity. Nearly all respondents (95.5%) indicated they would not return a symptomatic athlete to play whether the athlete’s neurocognitive scores were back to baseline. Chi-square/OR analyses revealed that high school sports medicine professionals were 12 times more likely to re-baseline their athletes at the recommended 2-year interval; and were 6 times more likely to return an athlete to play if their ImPACT scores were back to normal, but they were symptomatic than were college sports medicine professionals. Conclusion: This study illustrated several differences between college and high school level sports medicine professionals in the implementation and interpretation of computerized neurocognitive testing among sport medicine professionals. The findings support the use of standardized training and concussion management protocols for sports medicine professionals

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