The study raises questions about the usual concussion assessment tool – ScienceDay

The tool used to diagnose concussions may be overestimating the condition and misidentifying symptoms such as fatigue and neck pain caused by intense exercise, not brain injury, according to Rutgers researchers.

This new research raises new questions about the Sports Earthquake Assessment Tool (SCAT), a questionnaire widely used in conjunction with other methods for diagnosing concussions acquired during sports. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Physiological Society on April 5.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of considering the effects of exercise and fatigue in assessing concussions in athletes in the field,” said study first author Stephanie Iring, a doctoral student in the laboratory of Jorge Serrador, an associate professor at Rutgers School. health professions. “While players with a blow to the head can generally report more symptoms, we must be careful to use all symptoms when assessing because some are common after intense exercise even when there has been no blow to the head.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury usually caused by a blow to the head. Although not typically life-threatening, the consequences can be serious and long-lasting. About 3.8 million earthquakes are reported in the United States each year.

SCAT is a tool designed for use by medical professionals to determine if a player has experienced a concussion. The assessment includes questions about red flag symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, muscle weakness and vision problems, in addition to tests to assess memory loss and other symptoms.

In previous studies of this tool, researchers compared symptoms in athletes who suffered a blow to the head with people who were at rest. For the new study, researchers compared the SCAT results of rugby players who received a blow to the head with teammates who had just played an intense rugby match but did not have a blow to the head. They estimated 209 players, 80 of whom suffered a blow to the head, and 129 did not.

Compared with those who suffered a head injury, those who had a head injury had significantly more symptoms on the SCAT assessment, reporting an average of 26 symptoms. Uninjured players reported about nine symptoms. However, many players without head injuries had symptoms similar to those reported by players with head injuries, including fatigue and neck pain.

“Our data show that the effort during the match increased the number and severity of symptoms that they reported to the control players, even though they did not suffer a blow to the head,” said Iring. “This could lead to difficulties in distinguishing these players from those who experienced a blow to the head when they used field assessments.

Some symptoms, including headache and “I don’t feel well”, were more closely related to the head injury. This suggests that these symptoms could be a stronger indicator of concussions in players who have just finished an intense game, according to researchers. In addition to headaches, other symptoms that were more common in those with head injuries included cognitive-sensory effects, emotional-affective symptoms, and hypersensitivity. Researchers have suggested that further studies are needed to examine how these components can be used in conjunction with current physiological measures to better assess concussions in athletes.

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Materials provided Rutgers University. Original written by Patti Verbanas. Note: Content can be edited by style and length.

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