Diagnostic Utility of New SCAT5 Neurological Screen Sub-tests

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Abstract
Background The Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) is recommended to screen for concussion following head impact events in elite sport. The most recent 5th edition (SCAT5) included a ‘rapid neurological screen’ which introduced new subtests examining comprehension, passive neck movement, and diplopia. This study evaluated the additional diagnostic value of these new subtests. Methods A prospective cohort study was performed in the Pro14 elite Rugby Union competition between September 2018 and January 2020. The SCAT5 was administered by the team doctor to players undergoing off-field screening for concussion during a medical room assessment. Sensitivity, specificity, false negatives, and positives were examined for SCAT5 comprehension, passive neck movement, and diplopia subtests. The reference standard was a final diagnosis of concussion, established by serial standardised clinical assessments over 48 h. Results Ninety-three players undergoing off-field screening for concussion were included. Sensitivity and specificity of the comprehension, passive neck movement, and diplopia subtests were 0, 8, 5% and 0, 91, 97%, respectively (concussion prevalence 63%). No players had any abnormality in comprehension. No players had abnormal passive neck movement or diplopia in the absence of abnormalities in other SCAT5 sub-components. Conclusions The new SCAT5 neurological screen subtests are normal in the majority of players undergoing off-field concussion screening and appear to lack diagnostic utility over and above other SCAT5 subtests.
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