Concussion Symptom Scales and Sideline Assessment Tools: A Critical Literature Update

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Sports-related concussion remains a diagnostic and management challenge for the sports medicine practitioner. Numerous symptom scales and sideline assessment tools are available for team physicians and athletic trainers to objectively assess this difficult injury. The purpose of this article is to update the reader on literature published within the past year relevant to concussion symptom scales and sideline assessment tools. A critical evaluation of pertinent articles is presented. We conclude that multiple symptom scales and assessment tools are available, with no single tool showing clear superiority. Many tools remain based more on expert opinion than rigorous scientific evaluation. A multifaceted approach to sports concussion is advised. The sports medicine practitioner must not rely on any one tool in managing concussion and must be aware of the strengths and limitations of whichever method is chosen to incorporate into a concussion evaluation and management plan.

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