Psychometric and measurement properties of concussion assessment tools in youth sports

Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ, USA.
Journal of athletic training (Impact Factor: 2.02). 10/2006; 41(4):399-408.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Establishing psychometric and measurement properties of concussion assessments is important before these assessments are used by clinicians. To date, data have been limited regarding these issues with respect to neurocognitive and postural stability testing, especially in a younger athletic population.
To determine the test-retest reliability and reliable change indices of concussion assessments in athletes participating in youth sports. A secondary objective was to determine the relationship between the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC) and neuropsychological assessments in young athletes.
We used a repeated-measures design to evaluate the test-retest reliability of the concussion assessments in young athletes. Correlations were calculated to determine the relationship between the measures. All subjects underwent 2 test sessions 60 days apart.
Sports medicine laboratory and school or home environment. Patients or Other Participants: Fifty healthy young athletes between the ages of 9 and 14 years.
Scores from the SAC, Balance Error Scoring System, Buschke Selective Reminding Test, Trail Making Test B, and Coding and Symbol Search subsets of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children were used in the analysis.
Our test-retest indices for each of the 6 scores were poor to good, ranging from r = .46 to .83. Good reliability was found for the Coding and Symbol Search tests. The reliable change scores provided a way of determining a meaningful change in score for each assessment. We found a weak relationship ( r < .36) between the SAC and each of the neuropsychological assessments; however, stronger relationships ( r > .70) were found between certain neuropsychological measures.
We found moderate test-retest reliability on the cognitive tests that assessed attention, concentration, and visual processing and the Balance Error Scoring System. Our results demonstrated only a weak relationship between performance on the SAC and the selected neuropsychological tests, so it is likely that these tests assess somewhat different areas of cognitive function. Our correlational findings provide more evidence for using the SAC along with a more complex neuropsychological assessment battery in the evaluation of concussion in young athletes.

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L’électrophysiologie, en particulier les potentiels évoqués cognitifs sont un outil de choix pour étudier la question en raison de leur sensibilité et de la mesure fonctionnelle qu’ils permettent d’obtenir. Les potentiels évoqués cognitifs consistent en une réponse électrique cérébrale moyenne générée lors de l’accomplissement d’une tâche. Il est possible d’identifier différentes composantes dans le tracé d’un potentiel évoqué; ces composantes sont associées à différents aspects de l’activité électrique cérébrale durant le traitement perceptuel et cognitif.Les articles scientifiques inclus dans cette thèse se penchent sur les effets de commotions cérébrales multiples chez des athlètes plusieurs mois après la dernière commotion. Dans un premier temps, l’aspect temporel est évalué par le biais de la mesure de la P3a et la P3b dans différents groupes d’athlètes. Ces composantes sont liées aux processus de mémoire et d’attention. Les résultats suggèrent que, malgré un fonctionnement normal, les athlètes ayant subi des commotions cérébrales éprouveraient de probables changements cognitifs sous-cliniques persistants se traduisant par une atténuation des P3a et P3b. Des altérations seraient aussi présentes quelques années après la dernière commotion, mais de façon plus subtile. La deuxième étude soumise s’intéresse aux processus électrophysiologiques liés au maintien de l’information en mémoire de travail visuel chez des athlètes ayant subi plusieurs commotions cérébrales. La mesure utilisée est la SPCN (sustained posterior controlateral negativity), une composante ERP spécifique au processus cognitif étudié. Les résultats montrent non seulement une composante atténuée chez les athlètes ayant subi trois commotions cérébrales ou plus, mais aussi une modulation de la composante en fonction du nombre de commotions cérébrales subies. Ces résultats pourraient contribuer à expliquer le risque accru de subir des commotions cérébrales subséquentes observées chez ces athlètes. En lien avec la littérature, ces données pourraient s’expliquer par la présence de déficits cognitifs sous-cliniques ou encore par la mise en place de mécanismes compensatoires. Enfin, ces résultats invitent à une grande prudence dans la gestion des cas de commotions cérébrales ainsi qu’à un effort d’éducation plus poussé chez les jeunes athlètes afin qu’ils puissent prendre les meilleures décisions concernant leur avenir. Concussions sustained in sporting contexts are a major concern. In United States only, it has been estimated that among all athletes in college teams, 5% will be concussed. According to an agreement following an international symposium on concussion in sport, in most cases, this is a transient injury. Within the field, it is known that the likelihood of sustaining a concussion increased as a function of the number of past concussions. This aspect challenges the transient conception of the injury. Functional imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or eventrelated potentials (ERP) showed functional alterations in absence of any behavioral changes within concussed athlete groups. ERP consist in the averaged cerebral electrical signal recorded on the scalp during a given stimulation or task. Many components may be identified within the signal, each associated to specific perceptual and cognitive functioning. In concussed athletes, it is possible that functional alterations persist well beyond the acute period. ERP have been chosen to study this topic because of their sensitivity. Scientific papers included in this thesis discuss the effects of multiple concussions among young adult athletes months after the last concussion. 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