Evaluation of a simple test of reaction time for baseline concussion testing in a population of high school athletes.
A common sequela of concussions is impaired reaction time. Computerized neurocognitive tests commonly measure reaction time. A simple clinical test for reaction time has been studied previously in college athletes; whether this test is valid and reliable when assessing younger athletes remains unknown. Our study examines the reliability and validity of this test in a population of high school athletes.
Two American High Schools.
High school athletes (N = 448) participating in American football or soccer during the academic years 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013.
All study participants completed a computerized baseline neurocognitive assessment that included a measure of reaction time (RTcomp), in addition to a clinical measure of reaction time that assessed how far a standard measuring device would fall prior to the athlete catching it (RTclin).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Validity was assessed by determining the correlation between RTclin and RTcomp. Reliability was assessed by measuring the intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) between the repeated measures of RTclin and RTcomp taken 1 year apart.
In the first year of study, RTclin and RTcomp were positively but weakly correlated (rs = 0.229, P < 0.001). In the second year, there was no significant correlation between RTclin and RTcomp (rs = 0.084, P = 0.084). Both RTclin [ICC = 0.608; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.434-0.728] and RTcomp (ICC = 0.691; 95% CI, 0.554-0.786) had marginal reliability.
In a population of high school athletes, RTclin had poor validity when compared with RTcomp as a standard. Both RTclin and RTcomp had marginal test-retest reliability. Before considering the clinical use of RTclin in the assessment of sport-related concussions sustained by high school athletes, the factors affecting reliability and validity should be investigated further.
Reaction time impairment commonly results from concussion and is among the most clinically important measures of the condition. The device evaluated in this study has previously been investigated as a reaction time measure in college athletes. This study investigates the clinical generalizability of the device in a younger population.
A video abstract showing how the RTclin device is used in practice is available as Supplemetal Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/JSM/A43.
SourceClinical journal of sport medicine : official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine 25:1 2015 Jan pg 43-8
Pub Type(s)Journal Article