The effect of exercise on baseline SCAT5 performance in male professional Rugby players

dc.contributor.authorTucker, Ross
dc.contributor.authorBrown, James
dc.contributor.authorFalvey, Éanna
dc.contributor.authorFuller, Gordon
dc.contributor.authorRaftery, Martin
dc.description.abstractBackground: Rugby Union requires annual baseline testing using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT5) as part of its head injury assessment protocols. Scores achieved during baseline testing are used to guide return-to-play decisions at the time of head impact events during matches, and concussion diagnosis during subsequent diagnostic screens. Baseline values must be valid, accurate representations of a playerâ s capability in the various SCAT5 sub-modes, including symptom report, cognitive function and balance. The extent to which prior exercise may affect performance is an important consideration, and the present cross-sectional study aimed to explore how SCAT5 performance differs when assessed at rest (RSCAT) compared to after 30 min of exercise (EXSCAT) in 698 male professional rugby players for whom paired exercise and rest SCAT5 data were available. Results: Symptom endorsement was greater when assessed after exercise than at rest. Fatigue/Low energy was 1.5 times more likely to be reported when assessed during EXSCAT. Orientation score was improved during SCAT5s performed after exercise, but only when rest and exercise SCAT5s were conducted on the same day, suggesting a learning effect. Concentration score was impaired during EXSCAT. No other cognitive sub-modes were affected by exercise. Total errors during Modified Balance Error Scoring System (MBESS) increased during EXSCAT, as a result of increased errors made during single leg balance, irrespective of testing sequence, with 42% of players making more errors in EXSCAT, compared to 28% making more errors in RSCAT. Conclusions: Symptoms, cognitive sub-modes and balance sub-modes are all affected by exercise. These may be the result of learning effects that improve cognitive performance, and the direct effects of exercise on sub-mode performance. The clinical implications of these changes may be assessed in the future through a study of diagnostic screens in players after head impact events, to confirm whether an exercise baseline screen is required annually, or whether specific sub-modes of the SCAT5 should be obtained at rest and after exercise.en
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden
dc.description.versionPublished Versionen
dc.identifier.citationTucker, R., Brown, J., Falvey, É., Fuller, G. and Raftery, M. (2020) 'The effect of exercise on baseline SCAT5 performance in male professional Rugby players', Sports Medicine - Open, 6, 37 (12pp). doi: 10.1186/s40798-020-00265-8en
dc.identifier.journaltitleSports Medicine - Openen
dc.publisherBioMed Central Ltden
dc.rights© 2020, the Authors. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
dc.subjectConcussion managementen
dc.subjectNeurological screeningen
dc.subjectRugby unionen
dc.titleThe effect of exercise on baseline SCAT5 performance in male professional Rugby playersen
dc.typeArticle (peer-reviewed)en
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