Screening for lifetime concussion in athletes: importance of oculomotor measures

Brain Inj. 2014 Apr;

28(4):475-485.

Poltavski, D. V. and D. Biberdorf.

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Abstract:

HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present study was to determine the utility of oculomotor-based evaluation protocols in screening for lifetime concussion incidence in elite hockey players. METHODS: Forty-two Division I collegiate male and female hockey players were evaluated using the guidelines of an overall oculomotor-based diagnostic clinical test protocol for the mTBI population. The sensitivity of the collected measures to lifetime concussion was then compared with the corresponding sensitivity of measures of neuropsychological functioning (ImPACT) often used with athletes for acute concussion diagnosis. RESULTS: This model showed that a hockey player with a Near Point of Fixation Disparity (NPFD) equal to or greater than 15 cm, Visagraph comprehension rate less than 85% and the total score on part A of an ADHD questionnaire equal to or greater than 11 was on average 10.72-times more likely to have previously suffered a concussion than an athlete with lower values on the NPFD and ADHD questionnaire and a higher comprehension rate on the Visagraph. None of the IMPACT baseline assessment measures were significantly predictive of the individual’s concussion history. CONCLUSION: The study provides a relatively sensitive screening tool to assess the probability of previous concussion(s) in an athlete. This model may allow athletic personnel to address in a timely manner the risks associated with repeat concussions and to develop individualized concussion management protocols.

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