Research Article| Volume 357, ISSUE 1-2, P75-79, October 15, 2015

Use of the King–Devick test for sideline concussion screening in junior rugby league

  • D. King
    Corresponding author at: Emergency Department, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Private Bag 31-907, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
    Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT Millennium, Faculty of Health and Environmental Science, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

    Department of Paramedicine, School of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
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  • P. Hume
    Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT Millennium, Faculty of Health and Environmental Science, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • C. Gissane
    School of Sport Health and Applied Science, St. Mary's University, Twickenham, Middlesex, United Kingdom
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  • T. Clark
    Australian College of Physical Education, Faculty of Human Performance, Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales, Australia
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      • The King–Devick (K–D) test was used for routine assessment for possible concussion.
      • The K–D had a high baseline test–retest reliability (rs = 0.86; p < 0.0001).
      • Seven concussions were medically identified in six players with post-match K–D times greater than 3 s from baseline.



      To determine whether the King–Devick (K–D) test used as a sideline test in junior rugby league players over 12 matches in a domestic competition season could identify witnessed and incidentally identified episodes of concussion.


      A prospective observational cohort study of a club level junior rugby league team (n = 19) during the 2014 New Zealand competition season involved every player completing two pre-competition season baseline trials of the K–D test. Players removed from match participation, or who reported any signs or symptoms of concussion were assessed on the sideline with the K–D test and referred for further medical assessment. Players with a pre- to post-match K–D test difference >3 s were referred for physician evaluation.


      The baseline test–retest reliability of the K–D test was high (rs = 0.86; p < 0.0001). Seven concussions were medically identified in six players who recorded pre- to post-match K–D test times greater than 3 s (mean change of 7.4 s). Post-season testing of players demonstrated improvement of K–D time scores consistent with learning effects of using the K–D test (67.7 s vs. 62.2 s).


      Although no witnessed concussions occurred during rugby play, six players recorded pre- to post-match changes with a mean delay of 4 s resulting in seven concussions being subsequently confirmed post-match by health practitioners. All players were medically managed for a return to sports participation.


      The K–D test was quickly and easily administered making it a practical sideline tool as part of the continuum of concussion assessment tools for junior rugby league players.


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