Quick sideline test valuable for injured players

Study of UF athletes finds vision test helpful in determining concussion

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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Florida Gators take the field at the 2012 Gator Bowl in front of announced crowd of 61,312.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A simple sideline vision test may help determine if an athlete has a concussion.  That's according to a new study on athletes at the University of Florida

Researchers from New York University performed concussion tests on more than 200 UF men's football, women's soccer and women's lacrose players.
The vision test has athletes rapidly read single-digit numbers on index cards.

"This is trying to pinpoint those kids that may not fess up to their symptoms and may actually look OK, but this may be the deciding factor on whether they actually are or are not concussed," explained Dr. Rick Figler, who did not take part in the study by treats concussion at Cleveland Clinic.

The sideline test takes one minute to perform.  Researchers found it took nearly 80 percent of injured athletes longer to complete the test.

Figler is not surprised.  He says vision is typically affected by concussion in many ways.

"We get this all of the time, kids are driving at night and they turn to their parents and say, 'Why does everybody have their brights on?' It's not that everyone has their brights on, it's their stimulation to the light, the sensitivity to the light is much more heightened during that recovery process," explained Figler.

When vision test results were combined with those of the standardized assessment of concussion and the balance error scoring system, 100 percent of the concussions were identified.

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