Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of the King-Devick (K-D) test, a screening which evaluates saccadic eye movements, to identify football players who may have sustained a concussion during play. Secondary outcomes include evaluating whether performance of K-D testing increases awareness of concussion in high School football players.

Methods: Forty-seven high school football players ranging from freshmen to senior grade levels and all play levels were given a baseline K-D test prior to beginning of the 2012 football season. Each student also filled out a survey gauging their level of awareness of concussion signs and symptoms. During the season, three varsity level players sustained concussions on-field. Each of these players had the K-D test performed within thirty minutes of impact. The concussion diagnosis was confirmed by a neurologist within days of the on-field incident. At the end of the season, the K-D test was again administered to all students. Students also took a post-season survey which was identical to the one they took prior to the start of the season to gauge their awareness of concussion.

Results: There was very little variance in athletes who did not have concussion when comparing pre- and post-season testing with LOA of 95% and confidence intervals of 95%. Test-retest reliability was analyzed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) between baseline and end of the season data, showing correlation of 0.873 with significance of p < 0.05. The three football players whose concussion diagnosis was confirmed by a neurologist did in fact demonstrate diminished K-D test performance times within thirty minutes of the on-field injury. Times were diminished by 41% in student 1, 100% in student 2, and 143% in student 3. Regarding the knowledge of concussions survey administered pre- and post-season, paired sample t-tests showed p > 0.05 significance for the question “I would say that my current knowledge level of concussions is very high.” Therefore, it is evident that the football students’ level of awareness of concussion significantly increased throughout the season.

Conclusions: This study showed that the King-Devick Test can potentially be used as a rapid sideline tool to identify athletes who have potential concussion in a time period of under one minute.

Summary Points:

  • Assessed the effectiveness of K-D test to identify concussion in high school football players.
  • 3 out of 47 players sustained concussions and all performed worse on the K-D Test.
  • Pre- and post-season testing for non-concussed players showed no worsening of K-D test time.
  • K-D testing heightened awareness of concussion.
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