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Do Neurocognitive SCAT3 Baseline Test Scores Differ Between Footballers (Soccer) Living With and Without Disability? A Cross-Sectional Study

Weiler, Richard MBChB, MSc*,†,‡,§; van Mechelen, Willem MD, PhD*,¶,‖,**; Fuller, Colin PhD††; Ahmed, Osman Hassan PhD†,‡‡; Verhagen, Evert PhD*,**,§§

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2018 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 43–50
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000407
Original Research

Objective: To determine if baseline Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, third Edition (SCAT3) scores differ between athletes with and without disability.

Design: Cross-sectional comparison of preseason baseline SCAT3 scores for a range of England international footballers.

Setting: Team doctors and physiotherapists supporting England football teams recorded players' SCAT 3 baseline tests from August 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014.

Participants: A convenience sample of 249 England footballers, of whom 185 were players without disability (male: 119; female: 66) and 64 were players with disability (male learning disability: 17; male cerebral palsy: 28; male blind: 10; female deaf: 9).

Assessment and Outcome Measures: Between-group comparisons of median SCAT3 total and section scores were made using nonparametric Mann–Whitney–Wilcoxon ranked-sum test.

Main Results: All footballers with disability scored higher symptom severity scores compared with male players without disability. Male footballers with learning disability demonstrated no significant difference in the total number of symptoms, but recorded significantly lower scores on immediate memory and delayed recall compared with male players without disability. Male blind footballers' scored significantly higher for total concentration and delayed recall, and male footballers with cerebral palsy scored significantly higher on balance testing and immediate memory, when compared with male players without disability. Female footballers with deafness scored significantly higher for total concentration and balance testing than female footballers without disability.

Conclusions: This study suggests that significant differences exist between SCAT3 baseline section scores for footballers with and without disability. Concussion consensus guidelines should recognize these differences and produce guidelines that are specific for the growing number of athletes living with disability.

*Amsterdam Collaboration on Health and Safety in Sports, Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands;

The FA Centre for Disability Football Research, St Georges Park, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom;

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom;

§Fortius Clinic, London, United Kingdom;

School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia;

School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland;

**Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM), Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa;

††Colin Fuller Consultancy Ltd, Sutton Bonington, United Kingdom;

‡‡Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, United Kingdom; and

§§Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Richard Weiler, MBChB, MSc, Fortius Clinic, 17 Fitzhardinge Street, London, W1H 6EQ, United Kingdom (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

R. Weiler conceived the concept of this paper, collated, and analyzed the data. R. Weiler and E. Verhagen generated the primary draft of this paper, and all authors then assisted in reviewing, editing the ideas within this paper and to create the final version of this paper.

Received July 15, 2016

Accepted October 09, 2016

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