ImPACT Testing for Traumatic Brain Injury Concussions

Written By: Department of Psychology, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, USA.

Five Ways to Prevent a ConcussionA new study supports the clinical utility of the ImPACT Validity Index in detecting “sandbagging” the baseline test.

A new independent study is being published in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology (June 2012) that examined the ability of the ImPACT Validity Index to “catch” college students who have been instructed to attempt to set a low baseline without getting caught. To our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind to examine the sandbagging phenomenon in athletes.

In this study, Dr. Kristi Erdal of Colorado College provided financial incentives for a group of 75 male and female collegiate athletes who had previously taken the ImPACT baseline test to attempt to set a low baseline score without triggering the Validity Index. Of the 75 students, the index correctly identified 89 percent of the sample. According to Dr. Erdal, “The data suggests that “sandbagging” the baseline, even under conditions involving motivation, instruction and experience with the test, is difficult to accomplish without being detected”.

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2012 Jun 8. Neuropsychological Testing for Sports-related Concussion: How Athletes Can Sandbag their Baseline Testing Without Detection.Erdal K.

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