Premature return-to-play following concussion may have debilitating or even fatal consequences. Computerised neuropsychological test batteries are widely used to monitor recovery, but none meet all the criteria specified by Randolph et al  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. We used a portable, micro-miniature device (saccadometer) to record the eye movements of amateur boxers before and after competitive bouts. Individual latency distributions were significantly affected following blows to the head, though the effects appeared reversible with recovery over a few days. We suggest that this quantitative, objective and easy-to-use technique might be deployed more widely to evaluate its potential in monitoring the effects of sports-related head injuries.
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