May 28, 2014
1 min read

King-Devick test effective in detecting concussions for adolescents, study finds

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The King-Devick test, which measures saccadic eye movements to detect concussions, has been validated by the Mayo Clinic, according to a release from the Mayo Clinic News Network.

The study, published in Neurology, found that the King-Devick sideline test accurately determined real-time, symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic concussions in adolescent hockey players.

As reported in the study, 141 high school hockey players were evaluated with the King-Devick test before the season, after the season and if a concussion was suspected.

Of that group, 20 athletes reported a head injury; all had slower times than was recorded as their baseline before the season began, according to the study.

“Youth athletes are at a higher risk for concussion and a longer recovery time than adults,” Amaal Starling, MD, Mayo Clinic neurologist and a co-author of the study, said in the release. “While the test has already been clinically validated for detecting concussion in collegiate and professional athletes, we wanted to ensure it was also validated in adolescents.”

Additionally, 11 athletes who had not reported a head injury recorded a slower time at the end of the season, the authors reported.

“It has become evident that not only do many athletes not report symptoms of concussion, but concussive brain injuries may occur without the athlete even experiencing symptoms,” Priya Dhawan, MD, the study’s first author, said in the release. “This is a very important and unsuspected finding from this study — King-Devick testing may not only be a valuable remove-from-play tool, but may detect those who may have suffered a silent or unreported concussion and identify those athletes who may need further evaluation before returning to play the next season.”

In their conclusion, the study authors recommended that athletes utilize the King-Devick test pre- and post-season and if a concussion is suspected to identify concussions.

Disclosures: Dhawan and Starling have no financial disclosures.