By: Allan M. Siegel
The NFL has finally started to take concussions seriously, but only after the medical and scientific community put forth incontrovertible evidence showing the devastating and long term effects of traumatic brain injuries. Now, at the first sign of a possible concussion, NFL players are rushed off the field and tested by teams of doctors with expensive equipment. All of the research that has gone into traumatic brain injuries in recent years has led to the development of a simple and reliable concussion detection test that can be administered on the sidelines by a coach or a parent.
The American Academy of Neurology recently released a study on the use of the King-Devick test. This test generally takes 1-2 minutes to administer, and it is an accurate method to identify head trauma in athletes. Administrators need only index cards and a timer. The test may also be administered on an iPad. The athlete receives this test once before the season begins. The first testing session determines the baseline time and error rate. The test consists of reading numbers in a rapid sequence with visual ques designed to pick up on concussion like symptoms. The test taker reads the numbers allowed as quickly as possible without error. This is repeated through a multiple cards and then the score is determined. Then after head trauma is experienced either during a game or during practice, the test is re-administered. If the player takes more time to complete the test or makes more errors than during the baseline test, the player will be advised to seek professional medical treatment.
The American Academy of Neurology study found that of players who actually experienced a concussion, 79% took longer to complete the test or made more errors. Therefore, the use of this test was able to accurately detect a concussion nearly 80% of the time. For a low cost and simple test that can be administered by any willing parent or coach, this test is a welcomed tool for those of us concerned about the risk of concussion in our young athletes. For more information on this test please visit the King-Devick website at http://kingdevicktest.com/.
If you have a question regarding an athlete injury, brain injury or concussion, please call the brain injury lawyers at the law firm of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel. We have years of experience helping victims of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI).