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Quick Test for Concussion

Appropriate management of mild traumatic brain injury has been a popular topic over the past few years.

Researchers have learned that although the events usually resolve with time, the effects may accumulate, causing memory deficits and early dementia.

Mild traumatic brain injury is relatively common and can result from any blow to the head.

Among athletes, the issue often relates to whether a concussion has occurred, and when the individual can safely resume a game or event.

To aid in this determination, researchers have developed a simple test of reaction time.

“Research has shown that reaction time is slower after a concussion — even as long as several days after other symptoms are gone,” said study author James T. Eckner, MD, of the University of Michigan Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Ann Arbor.

“But the tests currently used to measure reaction time require computers and special software.”

Eckner and his colleagues developed a simple, inexpensive device to measure reaction time: a cylinder attached to a weighted disk. The examiner releases the device and the athlete catches it as soon as possible.

For the study, the researchers gave the test to 209 Division I college football, wrestling and women’s soccer athletes during their preseason physicals. Then any athlete who had a concussion diagnosed by a physician during the season took the test again within three days of the concussion.

Eight athletes had concussions during the study. Of those, seven of the athletes had a prolonged reaction time after the concussion compared to the preseason time. Catching the object took about 15 percent longer.

“Because of its simplicity and low cost, this test may work well with youth athletes, where there is limited access to computerized testing of reaction time,” Eckner said.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Quick Test for Concussion

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Quick Test for Concussion. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/02/17/quick-test-for-concussion/11522.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.