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At its annual meeting Tuesday, the NFL instituted a measure whereby an independent official in the booth will be vested with the authority to call a medical timeout if a player appears woozy and in need of evaluation under the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Rich McKay, a co-chairman of the competition committee, told ESPN earlier this week that “the Edelman situation was a play we looked at and it was part of the issue. There were a couple of other plays that go back a couple of years that we looked at and really it came a little bit from the health and safety committee just saying, ‘We got the ATC spotters, they’ve got a really good vantage point, they’ve got technology in their booth, they’re communicating pretty well with our trainers and doctors and we’ve got a pretty good rhythm going there, why would we miss a player where a player shouldn’t come out?’
“And maybe this becomes the fail-safe. So that was the genesis of it. We do not expect this to be a rule that gets used a lot. We expect it to be a fail-safe when people just don’t see this player and the distress the player may have had, the ATC spotter does and stops the game.”
The Mayo Clinic has agreed to a licensing agreement with King-Devick Test Inc., which has developed “a proven indicator of ocular motor, visual and cognitive function for concussion detection and evaluation on the sidelines of sporting events to help with the decision to sideline athletes to prevent injury,” according to a press release.
Under the terms of the agreement, the King-Devick Concussion Screening Test will be formally recognized as the King-Devick Test In Association With Mayo Clinic. The King-Devick Test is described as a quick, accurate and objective concussion screening tool that can be administered on the sidelines by parents, coaches, athletic trainers, school nurses and medical professionals.
“Studies have indicated that the King-Devick test is an effective tool for the real-time evaluation of concussion because it looks at rapid eye movement and attention – both are affected by concussions,” says David Dodick, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and director of Mayo Clinic’s concussion program. “Most importantly, the test is affordable and can easily be used by any youth sports league, and administered by non-medical personnel. And youth athletes are at a higher risk for concussion and a longer recovery time than adults.”
“It’s a privilege to be associated with the premier health care brand in the world,” says Steve Devick, Founder and CEO of King-Devick Test. “This agreement will help us accomplish our goal of having a tool on the sidelines to help determine ‘remove from play’ for athletes to prevent further injury and be referred to qualified professionals for follow up care.”
The test requires an athlete to read single-digit numbers displayed on cards or tablet computer. After suspected head trauma, the athlete is given the test, which takes about two minutes, and the results are compared to a baseline test administered previously. If the time needed to complete the test takes longer than the baseline test time, or if the subject shows any other symptoms of a concussion, the athlete should be removed from play until evaluated by a medical professional. A new baseline is required annually.Peer reviewed published research has shown that The King-Devick Test requires eye movements, speech, language, and concentration, all of which can be impaired as a result of concussion. Recently more than 20 studies showing the effectiveness of the test as a quick, objective and accurate “remove from play” sideline test have been presented or published in elite scientific journals. Numerous other recent studies have been published regarding King-Devick Test as it relates to MS, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, hypoxia, extreme sleep deprivation and reading fluency. Under the agreement, Mayo Clinic will provide ongoing medical consultation in future development of the test.
Peer reviewed published research has shown that The King-Devick Test requires eye movements, speech, language, and concentration, all of which can be impaired as a result of a concussion. Recently more than 20 studies showing the effectiveness of the test as a quick, objective and accurate “remove from play” sideline test have been presented or published in elite scientific journals. Numerous other recent studies have been published regarding King-Devick Test as it relates to MS, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, hypoxia, extreme sleep deprivation and reading fluency. Under the agreement, Mayo Clinic will provide ongoing medical consultation in future development of the test.
The King-Devick Test has also been proven to detect un-witnessed, un-reported and “silent” concussions in athletes.
“Although concussion awareness has been a trending hot media topic at the professional and collegiate sport levels, more information must be disseminated to the high school and youth levels, Dr. Dodick added. “Concussion guidelines are rapidly changing. Just a few years ago, athletes were expected to ‘shake it off’ and continue to play after suffering a concussion or a ‘ding.’ Today, we now know that it is unsafe for any athlete to return-to-play the same day they have suffered a concussion, and it is recommended that every athlete not return-to-play until they have been cleared by an appropriate professional.”
A simple vision test performed on the sidelines may help determine whether athletes have suffered a concussion, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.
The study provides more evidence that the King-Devick test, a one-minute test where athletes read single-digit numbers on index cards, can be used in addition to other tests to increase the accuracy in diagnosing concussion.
For the study, 217 members of the University of Florida men’s football, women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams took the King-Devick test and other concussion tests, including components of SCAT3, a tool for evaluating injured athletes, at the beginning of the season for baseline scores. A total of 30 of the athletes had a first concussion during the season and were tested again at the time of the injury or when it was reported.
The time to complete the King-Devick test (usually less than one minute) was longer for 79 percent of the athletes after the injury. A test of rapid number naming, the King-Devick test requires intact eye movements, language and concentration, all of which can be impaired as a result of concussion. When the test results were combined with those of the Standardized Assessment of Concussion and the Balance Error Scoring System, 100 percent of the concussions were identified. Athletes with worse scores on the King-Devick test also were more likely to have concussion symptoms, especially sensitivity to light and noise.
“The visual pathways are commonly affected in concussion,” said study author Laura Balcer, MD, MSCE, of New York University (NYU) School of Medicine in New York, NY, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “Adding a vision-based test to evaluate athletes on the sidelines may allow us to better detect more athletes with concussion more quickly. This is particularly important since not all athletes reliably report their symptoms of concussion, including any vision problems.”
The study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.