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How To Give a Concussion Test: The King-Devick



Ever wondered how to give a concussion test after you or a friend is victim to a vicious head injury? It’s simple with the King-Devick test.

Assessing concussions has always been a tough gamble. Even with billions of dollars and the best neuro specialists in the world, football, hockey and other major contact sports organizations have all struggled with the continuing speed of the game and the ensuing head trauma that can result. We recently covered how Nova Scotia has made helmets mandatory on ski mountains to reduce the rate of concussions for snowboarders and skiers. The fact is, no matter what sport you’re playing or where you are, accidents can happen. So how are we as Adrenalists supposed to quantify when, or even if, we should turn in for the day once we’ve sustained impact to the head?

There is actually a simple concussion test that can be administered in order to determine the level of  injury. The King-Devick Test outlines the parameters for a baseline reading of brain function, so after impact, an athlete can be evaluated on whether or not he should be allowed to return to action. Studies have been done with MMA fighters, boxers and other athletes at risk for concussions that show the King-Devick concussion test is the best tool for amateurs to use in the case of a hit to the head.

The Test: How-To 

Using a mobile device, computer, or notecards, a series of numbers are presented to the athlete pre-impact. The athlete should read the numbers aloud as fast as he can to ascertain a baseline time for brain function. After impact, the athlete is administered another set of numbers. If he is unable to match his original time within 5 seconds, then he shouldn’t be allowed back into whatever endeavor led to his injury and he should make sure to seek professional medical evaluation immediately. Some references have said any deviation from the baseline time, even just a couple seconds, warrants a timeout and a trip to see a professional, so it is best to assess the particular situation. At the very least, the athlete should sit out if they’re a couple seconds slower than their baseline.

The King-Devick test is a simple way to evaluate whether more experienced help with a head injury is needed. So the next time you’re going snowboarding, skiing, or just playing touch football with some friends in the park, administer a baseline King-Devick test. You could be saving a friend from serious brain impairment in the process.

Cover Photo Credit: Geoff Ruddock –

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