Newly published research from an
international team featuring UT Arlington
assistant professor Jacob Resch has reaffirmed questions about portions of the
popular computerized concussion assessment tool ImPACT.
When administered as it is in a
clinical setting, the test possessed strong reliability on some evaluation factors.
But, on other factors, it misclassified healthy participants as impaired as
much as 46 percent of the time.
Authors say the study illustrates
the need for multiple types of concussion assessments. The research was
published online May 31 in the Journal of
Athletic Training. Jacob Resch, assistant professor in UT Arlington’s
College of Education and Health Professions and director of the UT Arlington
Brain Injury Laboratory, is the lead author on the paper “ImPact
Test-Retest Reliability: Reliably Unreliable?”
“This research confirms previous
findings about ImPACT, and that is especially noteworthy in light of a recent
study that found that athletic trainers who use computerized neurocognitive
testing choose ImPACT,” Resch said. “We hope this study re-emphasizes the
importance of using multiple measures such as balance and a thorough clinical
examination to assess concussed athletes.”
ImPACT, which stands for
Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, includes tests and retests
that are used to monitor concussion recovery from a neuropsychological viewpoint.
Researchers found that the retests misclassified healthy participants as impaired
from 22 to 46 percent of the time. The most unreliable portions of the tests
had to do with verbal and visual memory.
Resch and fellow researchers
tested 91 men and women separated into two groups. Participants were ages 19 to
24. Researchers used different time ranges to assess test-retest reliability
for each group.
ImPACT is widely used in
professional and school settings. Test makers have said it is intended to be
used alongside other assessments, but researchers worry schools with limited
resources will see it as a single solution.
recognize that a computerized neuropsychological test such as ImPACT is only
one component of a concussion-management protocol and use all appropriate tools
in clinical decision making and making a return-to-play decision,” the paper
Co-authors on the paper are:
Aoife Driscoll and Dr. Noel McCaffrey, of Dublin City University in Dublin,
Ireland; Cathleen Brown, Michael S. Ferrara and Ted Baumgartner, of University
of Georgia; Stephen Macciocchi, of the Shepherd Center in Atlanta; and Dr.
Kimberly Walpert, of Georgia Neurological Surgery in Athens, Ga.
More than 300,000 concussion injuries were
documented in high schools during the 2011-2012 school year, according to the
National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study. The issue has
received increased attention in recent years as athletes from the National
Football League have spoken out and signed on to a class-action lawsuit
concerning the long-term health effects associated with multiple impacts.
Resch and the Department
of Kinesiology at UT Arlington
hosted the campus’ 2nd Annual Concussion Summit: Concussion in Youth
Sport in April.
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