Validity of ImPACT Baseline Scores in College Athletes

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Lichtenstein, J., J. Fleischer and K. Goldberg.



Objective: Objective: To investigate the prevalence of questionable validity scores (“sandbagging”) on baseline neurocognitive testing among college athletes. Method: A frequency analysis was conducted to examine baseline neurocognitive test scores. Subjects included 974 college athletes at an NCAA Division III university who received baseline testing as part of their university’s concussion management program. The Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing neurocognitive battery (ImPACT) was used, and baseline testing was administered during an athlete’s pre-season. Results: A total of 206 (21.2%) athletes scored below the test producers’ suggested validity cutoff on the Visual Memory Composite. A total of 88 (9.0%) athletes scored below the suggested validity cutoff on the Verbal Memory Composite. Conclusions: More than one-fifth of college athlete performances on baseline neurocognitive testing is questionably valid. This has major implications for concussion management programs that use ImPACT, as accurate baseline scores are essential for the usefulness of serial testing post-concussion.

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