Chicago concussion crusader Steve Devick hopes a new study will further convince sports teams at all levels to adopt his testing system for head injuries.
The Journal of Neurological Sciences on Thursday released a report showing the test Devick co-created and turned into a business, led to the discovery of 17 undiagnosed concussions among players on one New Zealand rugby team last season.
In the study, conducted by the New Zealand-based Sports Performance Research Institute, the players submitted to the King-Devick test after most games; this process led to 10 times more concussion diagnoses than before.
“The throw-in is that, [for] kids that don’t show much symptoms or [for] people that didn’t see the hit, you can also check them as well, and oftentimes find (concussions),” said Devick, who is based in Oak Brook Terrace.
Last October, ChicagoSide profiled Devick’s test, which started as a graduation thesis project he collaborated on with a fellow optometry student, Alan King, back in 1976. The test is designed to measure saccadic (fast voluntary) eye movements, and was originally meant to test for dyslexia.
It was only in 2009 that Devick’s team made the connection between saccadic eye movement and concussions.
For the study, subjects are asked to read a set of numbers over a period of less than two minutes, and are encouraged to be removed from play if their reading rate is slower than the set baseline.
“It’s a good sideline measure to help identify a concussive event,” said Dr. Gillian Hotz, a neurotrauma expert at the University of Miami.
“As a direct result of the findings using the King-Devick Test, the club has implemented a wider concussion awareness program to assist in identification and management of concussion for the upcoming season,” Dr. Doug King, the senior author of the study, said in a news release.
The test has already been implemented by 100 high schools around the country, in addition to college and professional sports programs.