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Do neurocognitive scat3 test scores differ between non-concussed national footballers living with and without disability? a cross-sectional study
  1. Richard Weiler1,2,3,4,
  2. Willem Van Mechelen1,5,6,7,
  3. Colin Fuller8,
  4. Osman Ahmed2,9,10,
  5. Evert Verhagen1,7,11
  1. 1Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports, Department of Public & Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2The FA Centre for Disability Football Research, St Georges Park, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire, UK
  3. 3University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  4. 4Fortius Clinic, London, UK
  5. 5School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  6. 6Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM), University of Cape Town, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  7. 7Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  8. 8Colin Fuller Consultancy Ltd, Sutton Bonington, UK
  9. 9Department of Physiotherapy, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, UK
  10. 10Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK
  11. 11Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Abstract

Objective To determine if cross-sectional differences exist using SCAT3 scores for non-concussed England footballers with and without disability.

Design Cross-sectional between group comparison of first-time collected SCAT3 scores.

Setting All England team doctors and physiotherapists commenced between 1st August 2013 and 31st July 2014 standardised annual SCAT3 testing on England footballers following the Zurich 2012 concussion guidelines.

Participants A convenience sample of England national football team players (total: 249; male: 174, female: 75), of whom 185 were athletes without disability (male: 119; female: 66) and 64 athletes with disability (male learning disability: 17; male cerebral palsy: 28; male blind: 10; female deaf: 9).

Assessment and outcome measures Comparison between groups of median SCAT3 section scores was made with the non-parametric Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon ranked-sum test.

Main results Compared to male footballers without disability, male footballers with disability scored significantly higher for total number of symptoms and symptom severity. However, male footballers with learning disability demonstrated no difference with total number of symptoms and scored significantly lower on immediate memory and delayed recall . Male blind footballers scored significantly higher for total concentration and delayed recall. Male footballers with cerebral palsy scored significantly higher on balance testing and significantly lower on immediate memory.

Conclusions The results of this study suggest that significant cross-sectional between-group variability exists in SCAT3 section scores when non-concussed footballers with disability are compared to footballers without disability. Future concussion consensus guidelines should recognise these between group differences and generate separate SCAT3 guidelines for the growing number of elite athletes living with disability.

Competing interests None.

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