Development and Pilot Testing of the Dual Task Screen in Healthy Adolescents

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Abstract

Athletes with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) should refrain from high-risk activities until recovered (symptom free and cognitive and physical exam findings normalize). Studies have suggested that this examination may not be sufficiently sensitive because dual-task paradigms, which typically assess motor performance while a person simultaneously completes a distractor task, can detect residual deficits in athletes who otherwise appear recovered from mTBI. Paradigms used to date are time-intensive procedures conducted in laboratory settings. Here, we report findings from a pilot study of the Dual Task Screen (DTS), which is a brief evaluation with two dual-task paradigms. In 32 healthy female adolescents, the DTS was administered in a mean of 5.63 min in the community, and every participant had poorer dual-condition performance on at least one of the motor tasks. The DTS is a clinically feasible measure and merits additional study regarding utility in adolescents with mTBIs.

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