One Year Test–Retest Reliability of Neurocognitive Baseline Scores in 10-to 12-Year Olds

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Abstract: How often youth athletes 10-12 years of age should undergo neurocognitive baseline testing remains an unanswered question. We sought to examine the test-retest reliability of annual ImPACT data in a sample of middle school athletes. Participants were 30 youth athletes, ages 10-12 years (Mean=11.6, SD=0.6) selected from a larger database of 10-18 year old athletes, who completed two consecutive annual baseline evaluations using the online version of ImPACT. Athlete assent and parental consent were obtained for all participants. Assessments were conducted either individually or in small groups of 2 to 3 athletes, under the supervision of a neuropsychologist or post-doctoral fellow. Test-retest coefficients were as follows: Verbal Memory .71, Visual Memory .35, Visual Motor Speed .69, Reaction Time .34. Intra-class Correlation Coefficients (single/average) were as follows: Verbal Memory .70/.83, Visual Memory .35/.52, Visual Motor Speed .69/.82, Reaction Time .34/.50. Regression-based measures to correct for practice effects revealed that only a small percentage of cases fell outside 90 and 95% confidence intervals, reflecting stability across assessments. Findings indicate that test-retest reliability of Verbal Memory and Visual Motor Speed are generally stable in 10-12 year old athletes. Nevertheless, Visual Memory Index, Reaction Time Index, and Symptom Checklist scores appear to be less reliable over time, especially compared to published data on high school athletes, suggesting the utility of re-testing on an annual basis in this younger age group.

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