Review: SCAT5 – A tool for assessing sports concussions

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The most current concussion guideline in a web application

Concussions remain a hot topic in the media, especially during the football season. I remember hearing about concussions in medical school, residency, and most of all, during my time in the military with the media surrounding BIT and PTSD. The media frenzy surrounding concussions really began in 2015 with the release of Will Smith’s film “Concussion”. The film documents the research Bennet Omalu, MD, on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (Costa). Later the Congress was celebrated special hearings on the subject bringing together experts in the field of civilian and military community to talk about prevention, evaluation and treatment.

In addition, the NFL i other sports organizations they made significant changes in their approach to concussions on and off the field. Most providers use some variation of the sports concussion assessment tool, SCAT5, for the evaluation of concussion. Developed by leading concussion experts, the SCAT5 is a multimodal concussion assessment that includes the Glasgow coma scale, patient symptoms, neurocognitive function, and patient balance.

Here at iMedicalApps, we’ve reviewed a number of concussion assessment apps, including an extensive revision of the guidelines and how applications should be developed and we did a review of the best applications based on guidelines. Our previous favorite was the excellent University of Michigan Return2Play application. Unfortunately, a SCAT5 application is not yet available. However, a mobile web application version of SCAT5 is now available.

Evidence-based medicine

The app uses the latest version of the SCAT5 concussion guideline. The guide developed in 2017 is currently the most widely used concussion assessment. It was developed by consensus / expert opinion based on the available evidence. References are included in the web application.

Which patients / providers will benefit from this application?

All providers caring for affected athletes, including students, residents, middle school, nurses, primary care, emergencies, neurology, and sports medicine physicians.

Price

O Free

I like

  • Use the latest SCAT5 concussion guideline
  • Detailed instructions, red flags, contact information, possibility to download PDF of SCAT5
  • Includes both field and office / off-field assessments

Does not like

  • It is not a native application, but a web application
  • Unable to save data to device
  • The back-to-play section seems vague and incomplete

Generally

I’m still amazed that in 2020 we still don’t have a definitive concussion app! Some of the native apps reviewed above are obsolete using the previous SCAT3 or are difficult to use. The SCAT5 mobile web application works great and offers the latest SCAT to mobile devices everywhere for free. I hope SCAT5 authors can work with their different organizations to create a native app at some point. Until then, I recommend adding it to your home screen.

Total score

O 4.0 stars

UI

O 4.0 stars

Despite the limitations of the web application format, the different components of the SCAT5 are well represented in the iPhone browser.

Multimedia use

O 4.0 stars

There are only so many things you can do in a web application, but I’m impressed with how SCAT5 translates to this format.

Price

O 5 stars

The web application is free to use.

Applicability to the real world

O 4.5 stars

This is a must-have web app to add to bookmarks / add to home screen for anyone evaluating athletes / patients with bruising. I would definitely like it to be a native app and include the functionality of most other native apps, but it still works. Finally, even a SCAT5 web application is superior to trying to print and make it by hand.

Device used for review

O iPhone 11 Pro with iOS 14.1.

No native application available. Available as web application only at this time.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.





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