Baseline Performance and Psychometric Properties of the Child Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (Child-SCAT3) in 5- to 13-year-old Athletes

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine the normative, baseline performance and psychometric properties of the Child Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (Child-SCAT3) in 5- to 13-year-old athletes.

Design:

Cross-sectional study.

Setting:

Practice fields.

Participants:

Contact sport athletes (N = 155) 5 to 13 years old.

Independent Variables:

Age, gender, verbal intellectual functioning (receptive vocabulary).

Main Outcome Measures:

Child-SCAT3: self-reported and parent-reported symptoms, cognitive performance (child form of the Standardized Assessment of Concussion; SAC-C), and balance (modified Balance Error Scoring System, mBESS-C; tandem gait). A subset of the sample repeated the Child-SCAT3 at another date. Some subjects also completed the Adult-SCAT3 version of the symptom checklist and mBESS.

Results:

Small-to-medium-sized effects of age were observed on all Child-SCAT3 components. Effects of gender and receptive vocabulary were observed on select components of the SCAT3. Younger age and lower receptive vocabulary were independently associated with greater symptom endorsement, yet parents rated higher symptom burden for older children. Internal consistency reliability and stability of symptom ratings was good to excellent. Stability was more modest for SAC-C and tandem gait scores and very poor for mBESS-C scores, perhaps due to restricted variance. Inter-rater reliability (self-rated vs parent-rated symptoms) was fair.

Conclusions:

The Child-SCAT3 self-report symptom checklist may be inappropriate to administer to younger school-aged children. Some of the age effects observed warrant use of demographically appropriate norms in Child-SCAT3 interpretation. The findings can provide guidance for clinicians assessing children of varying ages and point to directions for further development of refined approaches for pediatric concussion assessment.

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