Relationship and Latent Factors Between Clinical Concussion Assessments and the Functional Standardized Assessment of Reaction Time (StART)

Clin J Sport Med. 2022 Aug;

Lempke, L. B., Passalugo, S., Baranker, B. T., Hunt, D., Berkstresser, B., Wang, F., . . . Howell, D. R..

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationships and latent factors within the Standardized Assessment of Reaction Time (StART), and between StART and current clinical assessments. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Clinical medicine facility. PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-nine healthy collegiate student-athletes (63% male, age: 19.5 +/- 0.9 years, 28% >/=1 concussion history). ASSESSMENT OF RISK FACTORS: Student-athletes completed StART and clinical assessments during preinjury testing. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Standardized Assessment of Reaction Time consisted of 3 conditions (standing, single-leg balance, cutting) under 2 cognitive states (single task and dual task) for 3 trials each condition. Clinical assessments were the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) symptom checklist, Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), tandem gait (single task and dual task), and Immediate PostConcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT). We used Pearson-r correlation coefficients and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to examine relationships and latent factors between StART and clinical assessments. RESULTS: Null to moderate correlations presented among the StART outcomes (r range: 0.06-0.70), and null to small correlations between StART and clinical assessments (r range: -0.16 to 0.34). The three-factor EFA for solely StART explained 70.6% total variance: functional movement (cutting), static dual-task (standing and single-leg balance), and static single task (standing and single-leg balance). The five-factor EFA for StART and clinical assessments explained 65.8% total variance: gait (single-task and dual-task tandem gait), functional movement (StART single-task and dual-task cutting), static dual-task (StART standing, single-leg balance), neurocognitive (ImPACT verbal memory, visual memory, visual-motor speed), and static single task (StART standing, single-leg balance). No other outcomes met the factor loading threshold. CONCLUSIONS: StART displayed 3 distinct categories and had minimal redundancy within its subtests. StART did not meaningfully correlate with clinical assessments, suggesting that StART provides unique information by examining more functional, reactive movement.

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