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SLAM on the Stand: How the Sports‐Related Concussion Literature Can Inform the Expert Witness

Bailey, Christopher M. PhD; Barth, Jeffrey T. PhD; Bender, Scott D. PhD

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: March/April 2009 - Volume 24 - Issue 2 - p 123–130
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e31819c1caa
Orginal Article

Mild head injury is a controversial topic because patients may have subtle deficits and widely varied outcomes. Accordingly, neuropsychologists are frequently asked to provide expert testimony about the nature of mild head injury. This article discusses how the sports-related concussion literature, including the concept of baseline assessment, can inform expert witnesses who are asked to provide such testimony. We first provide a review of several of the controversies surrounding mild head injury, both within and outside of the forensic context. This is followed by a review of the sports as a laboratory assessment model literature, which demonstrates consistent and meaningful evidence of cognitive sequelae following mild head injury. We conclude with a description of how the sports as a laboratory assessment model literature may be utilized in a forensic neuropsychology context to address some of the identified controversies. We end with a call for more research that will further inform the forensic neuropsychologist about mild head injury and those factors that may result in poor recovery.

Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville.

Corresponding Author: Christopher M. Bailey, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine, PO Box 800203, Charlottesville, VA 22908.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.