Premature return to play after concussion may have debilitating or even fatal consequences. Computerised neuropsychological test batteries are widely used to monitor recovery, but none meet all specified criteria. One possible alternative is to measure saccadic reaction time or latency. Latency reflects the operation of cerebral decision mechanisms, and is strongly influenced by many agents that impair cortical function. A portable, micro-miniature device (saccadometer) was used to record the eye movements of amateur boxers before and after competitive bouts. Individual latency distributions were significantly affected after blows to the head, though the effects seemed to be reversible, with recovery over a few days. This quantitative, objective and easy to use technique should perhaps be deployed more widely to evaluate its potential in monitoring the effects of sports-related head injuries.
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