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Examining Sport Concussion Assessment Tool ratings for male and female youth hockey players with and without a history of concussion

Abstract

Background Concussion is one of the most commonly occurring injuries in sport today. The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) is a commonly used paper neurocognitive tool. To date, little is known about SCAT baseline normative values in youth athletes.

Objective The purpose of this study was to determine normative values on the SCAT for male and female youth hockey players.

Methods This is a secondary data analysis of pooled data from three prospective cohort studies examining the risk of injury in paediatric ice hockey players aged 9–17 years. A preseason baseline demographic and injury history questionnaire was completed by each player.

Results A total of 4193 players completed SCATs at baseline and were included in the analysis. 781 players (18.6%) reported a previous history of concussion. Fatigue and low energy followed by headache were the most commonly reported symptoms in all players. The majority of youth players could recite all five words immediately but only three words when delayed. A smaller proportion of the males were able to report the months of the year in reverse order compared with females of a similar age. The median number of digits recited in reverse order was 4.

Conclusions Youth ratings varied between age groups, gender and from previously reported ratings of varsity athletes, possibly reflecting developmental and gender differences. An understanding of these differences in youth athletes is important to ensure appropriate performance expectations on the SCAT and when making clinical decisions following a concussion.

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