Concussions among professional sports are are often mis-diagnosed, posing serious, sometimes potentially fatal consequences to injured players.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have developed the one-minute King-Devick (K-D) test, which essentially tests an athlete’s ability to read numbers. Showing a series of numbers on flash cards to an injured athlete and recording the time it takes to respond, any sideline doctor, coach or trainer can instantly determine if the player has sustained a concussion. A concussion can be properly diagnosed by comparing the results to the athlete’s baseline test, specifically if their response is more than five seconds slower. The test also checks for impairments of eye movement, attention, language and other symptoms of impaired brain function.
The University of Pennsylvania will pursue a follow-up study to examine the reliability of the K-D test and changes in athlete test scores over the course of a season. One can only hope that this test proves as viable as it sounds and shortly becomes a standard procedure for coaches, trainers and even parents at every sporting game. It could be a lifesaver!