Objective: The objective of this paper is to review existing literature surrounding the utility of the King-Devick Test which is a commonly used sideline assessment tool for sport-related concussions.

Methods: A review of the literature was performed using MEDLINE, CINHAL, and SportDiscus databases. The search was performed from the beginning of the record through November 16th, 2015.

Results: This search strategy yielded 27 articles from aforementioned databases. Further searching in The Cochrane Library with King-Devick AND Concuss* search terms yielded one additional article, summing a total of 28 articles. After removal of duplicates and implementation of the inclusion/exclusion criteria, 8 articles for extensively reviewed.

Conclusion: This narrative review suggests that the King-Devick test is an efficient sideline assessment tool for sport-related concussions. However, we recommend that the King-Devick should be used as a sideline screening tool, not a concussion diagnosis tool at this time. A proper baseline time including multiple tests may be recommended to negate the learning affect and to have a reliable baseline in which to measure from for future reference. A three second difference appears appropriate to identify the possibility of concussion and to remove an athlete from play. At this time, the athlete should be monitored and further evaluated as symptoms are sometimes delayed. We suggest that further research may be useful to better determine the efficacy of the K-D test in detecting concussions across a broader range of athletes and sports. We also suggest further research may investigate the K-D test a potential return-to-play tool for clinicians and medical personnel.

Summary Points:

  • This review supports the use of the King-Devick test as an efficient sideline assessment tool for sport-related concussions
  • Successful identification of concussions and appropriate subsequent management will lead to a reduced risk of a secondary concussion and long-term neurological complications
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