Neurocognitive tests are useful to assist the doctor monitoring and managing a player who suffered a concussion or head injury.
These tests are not a direct measure of concussion but help reflect the functioning of the brain.
These have been used for many years and provide a basis for comparison across similar age and sex groups.
A number of computerised tests are now available and are especially useful for baseline study has been conducted.
However a complete neuropsychological evaluation by a trained neuropsychologist may ultimately be necessary.
- Gives ‘reflection’ of brain function
- In use for many years with good normal values
- Computerised test is easy to administer
- Less time needed compared to pen and paper testing
- Interpretation if no Baseline Study in an individual athlete can be difficult
- Not as definitive as a complete Neuropsychological evaluation
Whilst there are a number of issues around neurocognitive testing, they should nonetheless be integrated evaluation and management of any patient who has sustained a head injury.
- Standards for assessment
- How often?
- Testing while symptomatic?
- Baseline vs No Baseline
- Not validated below age 12
- Who will interpret?
- Cost: who will pay?