I’ve been seeing a lot of research and continuing education looking into concussion management here recently. The ImPACT test seems to be fairly popular at both local, college and professional levels of sport to manage the risk of concussions in sport. The university I played for uses some kind of test now similar to this. They didn’t when I played. I don’t know if it’s this exact test, but they do some kind of computerized cognitive testing pre-season every year. I follow the athletic department’s various social media accounts and have seen posts reminding current student athletes to sign up for testing. I also happen to know my university also uses the old “foam and dome”/CTSIB to look at the vestibular components associated with concussion, because their head athletic trainer was the one that taught those of us in the PT school how to do it.
Anyway, the research above is stating that using the ImPACT test in isolation to determine a player’s readiness to return to play is not a good idea due to the poor to moderate reliability of the test. I think that goes for any test. No single test should be the sole determinate of any medical decision. No test is perfectly reliable or valid, so they must be taken into account with other tests, and clinical expertise as well. Sometimes your gut just knows. Clinical expertise can’t be quantified and I think is sometimes undervalued in the new “evidence based medicine” push. There’s something to say for someone who’s been practicing for 35 years… or a hive mind that has been practicing for a combined 35 years. Don’t be afraid to ask your clinical peers what they think too!