Sideline test to detect concussed athletes

A SIMPLE test to detect concussion in fighters who have experienced head trauma should become standard on the sidelines at all athletics events, US experts say. 

The one-minute test involves athletes reading single-digit numbers on three test cards. Known as the King-Devick test, it detects signs of impaired brain function including deteriorations in eye movement, attention and language. 

Researchers analysed the time taken to complete the test in 39 boxers and martial arts fighters, both pre- and post-fight. They found that post-fight times in those who experienced head trauma were an average of 11 seconds slower, compared to the pre-fight test.

They concluded an increase of five seconds or more in the post-fight time indicated the fighter had been concussed. 

“If validated in future studies, this test has the potential to become a standard sideline test for athletes,” the authors said.