The King-Devick test and sports-related concussion: Study of a rapid visual screening tool in a collegiate cohort

Kristin M. Galetta, Lauren E. Brandes, Karl Maki, Mark S. Dziemianowicz, Eric Laudano, Megan Allen, Kathy Lawler, Brian Sennett, Douglas Wiebe, Steve Devick, Leonard V. Messner, Steven L. Galetta, Laura J. Balcer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Concussion, defined as an impulse blow to the head or body resulting in transient neurologic signs or symptoms, has received increasing attention in sports at all levels. The King-Devick (K-D) test is based on the time to perform rapid number naming and captures eye movements and other correlates of suboptimal brain function. In a study of boxers and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, the K-D test was shown to have high degrees of test-retest and inter-rater reliability and to be an accurate method for rapidly identifying boxers and mixed martial arts fighters with concussion. We performed a study of the K-D test as a rapid sideline screening tool in collegiate athletes to determine the effect of concussion on K-D scores compared to a pre-season baseline. Methods: In this longitudinal study, athletes from the University of Pennsylvania varsity football, sprint football, and women's and men's soccer and basketball teams underwent baseline K-D testing prior to the start of the 2010-11 playing season. Post-season testing was also performed. For athletes who had concussions during the season, K-D testing was administered immediately on the sidelines and changes in score from baseline were determined. Results: Among 219 athletes tested at baseline, post-season K-D scores were lower (better) than the best pre-season scores (35.1 vs. 37.9 s, P = 0.03, Wilcoxon signed-rank test), reflecting mild learning effects in the absence of concussion. For the 10 athletes who had concussions, K-D testing on the sidelines showed significant worsening from baseline (46.9 vs. 37.0 s, P = 0.009), with all except one athlete demonstrating worsening from baseline (median 5.9 s). Conclusion: This study of collegiate athletes provides initial evidence in support of the K-D test as a strong candidate rapid sideline visual screening tool for concussion. Data show worsening of scores following concussion, and ongoing follow-up in this study with additional concussion events and different athlete populations will further examine the effectiveness of the K-D test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Volume309
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Eye movements
  • King-Devick test
  • Sports-related concussion
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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