New ratings announced as five new football helmets meet highest marks

BLACKSBURG, Va., May 19, 2014 – Virginia Tech has updated its adult football helmet ratings, which are designed to identify key differences between the abilities of individual helmets to reduce the risk of concussion. All five of the new adult football helmets introduced this spring earned the five-star mark, the highest rating awarded by the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings™.  Read more

Extensive Study on Concussions in Youth Sports Finds ‘Culture of Resistance’ for Self-Reporting Injury; Not Enough Evidence to Support Claim That Helmets Reduce Concussion Risk

WASHINGTON — Young athletes in the U.S. face a “culture of resistance” to reporting when they might have a concussion and to complying with treatment plans, which could endanger their well-being, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. The report provides a broad examination of concussions in a variety of youth sports with athletes aged 5 to 21. Overall, reported concussions rates are more frequent among high school athletes than college athletes in some sports — including football, men’s lacrosse and soccer, and baseball; higher for competition than practice (except for cheerleading); and highest in football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, and women’s basketball. Concussion rates also appear higher for youths with a history of prior concussions and among female athletes.  See full press release

Use of a rapid visual screening tool for the assessment of concussion in amateur rugby league: A pilot study

Citation:  King, D., Clark, T., Gissane C., (2012) Use of a rapid visual screening tool for the assessment of concussion in amateur rugby league: A pilot study. Journal of Neurological Sciences, 320, 16-21.

Review (Matt Holcomb, PhD)

The present study is a prospective cohort study of concussion outcomes for two amateur rugby teams.  Teams were assessed using the King-Devick (K-D) test, which is a visual scanning task with increasing demand.  The K-D may be an important future tool with regards to concussion management.  Certainly, the speed and ease of administration make it an attractive option when compared to presently available tools.  However, the study lacks some foundational psychometrics including a normative sample, and test-retest reliability, and an extremely small sample. Read more

Group versus Individual Administration Affects Baseline Neurocognitive Test Performance

by Matt Holcomb, PhD
The present study is a cohort comparison study which evaluated possible difference in performance between high school athletes completing preseason baseline neurocognitive testing in group versus individualized settings. Findings, suggest that baselines obtained in group settings showed decreased performance when compared to those tested individually. Far from condemning the practice of group neurocognitive testing, the purpose of the article is to educate and highlight limitations of group administration on neurocognitive testing; thus minimizing its impact on performance. Limitations include a lack of effort testing, retrospective group assignment, and unstandardized instructions (particularly for participants assigned to the “group” condition). There is also no control for team-effects (most football players received individual administration, while soccer players received group administration).  Read more