Scientists have devised a simple test that may help judge concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) in athletes.
The test may also indicate when athletes are ready to play again.
Study author James T. Eckner of the University of Michigan Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Ann Arbor said: "Research has shown that reaction time is slower after a concussion-even as long as several days after other symptoms are gone.
"But the tests currently used to measure reaction time require computers and special software."
Eckner and his team developed a simple, inexpensive device to measure reaction time - a cylinder attached to a weighted disk. The examiner releases the device and the athlete catches it as soon as possible.
The researchers gave the test to 209 Division I college football, wrestling and women's soccer athletes during their preseason physicals to come up with their findings. Then any athlete who had a concussion diagnosed by a physician during the season took the test again within three days of the concussion.
Eight athletes had concussions during the study. Of those, seven of the athletes had a prolonged reaction time after the concussion compared to the preseason time. Catching the object took about 15 percent longer.
Eckner said: "Because of its simplicity and low cost, this test may work well with youth athletes, where there is limited access to computerized testing of reaction time."
The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010. (ANI)