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Do sideline tests of vestibular and oculomotor function accurately diagnose Sports-Related concussion in Adults? A systematic review and Meta-analysis

Harris, S.A., Dempsey, A.R.ORCID: 0000-0001-8219-6120, Mackie, K., King, D., Hecimovich, M. and Murphy, M.C. (2021) Do sideline tests of vestibular and oculomotor function accurately diagnose Sports-Related concussion in Adults? A systematic review and Meta-analysis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine .

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Sports-related concussion (SRC) assessment tools are primarily based on subjective assessments of somatic, cognitive, and psychosocial/emotional symptoms. SRC symptoms remain underreported, and objective measures of SRC impairments would be valuable to assist diagnosis. Measurable impairments to vestibular and oculomotor processing have been shown to occur after SRC and may provide valid objective assessments.


Determine the diagnostic accuracy of sideline tests of vestibular and oculomotor dysfunction to identify SRC in adults.

Study Design:

Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4.


Electronic databases and gray literature were searched from inception until February 12, 2020. Physically active individuals (>16 years of age) who participated in sports were included. The reference standard for SRC was a combination of clinical signs and symptoms (eg, the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool [SCAT]), and index tests included any oculomotor assessment tool. The QUADAS tool was used to assess risk of bias, with the credibility of the evidence being rated according to GRADE.


A total of 8 studies were included in this review. All included studies used the King-Devick test, with no other measures being identified. Meta-analysis was performed on 4 studies with a summary sensitivity and specificity of 0.77 and 0.82, respectively. The overall credibility of the evidence was rated as very low.


Caution must be taken when interpreting these results given the very low credibility of the evidence, and the true summary sensitivity and specificity may substantially differ from the values calculated within this systematic review. Therefore, we recommend that clinicians using the King-Devick test to diagnose SRC in adults do so in conjunction with other tools such as the SCAT.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Applied Sports Science Laboratory
Publisher: SAGE Publications Inc.
Copyright: © 2021 by American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
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