Neurocognitive Testing

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.

  • Benefits
    • 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
  • Drawbacks
    • 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.

  • Issues
  • Standards for assessment
    • How often?
    • Testing while symptomatic?
  • Baseline vs No Baseline
  • Not validated below age 12
  • Who will interpret?
  • Cost: who will pay?
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