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To describe multivariate base rates (MBRs) of low scores and reliable change (decline) scores on Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) in college athletes at baseline, as well as to assess MBR differences among demographic and medical history subpopulations.
Data were reported on 15,909 participants (46.5% female) from the NCAA/DoD CARE Consortium. MBRs of ImPACT composite scores were derived using published CARE normative data and reliability metrics. MBRs of sex-corrected low scores were reported at <25th percentile (Low Average), <10th percentile (Borderline), and ≤2nd percentile (Impaired). MBRs of reliable decline scores were reported at the 75%, 90%, 95%, and 99% confidence intervals. We analyzed subgroups by sex, race, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and/or learning disability (ADHD/LD), anxiety/depression, and concussion history using chi-square analyses.
Base rates of low scores and reliable decline scores on individual composites approximated the normative distribution. Athletes obtained ≥1 low score with frequencies of 63.4% (Low Average), 32.0% (Borderline), and 9.1% (Impaired). Athletes obtained ≥1 reliable decline score with frequencies of 66.8%, 32.2%, 18%, and 3.8%, respectively. Comparatively few athletes had low scores or reliable decline on ≥2 composite scores. Black/African American athletes and athletes with ADHD/LD had higher rates of low scores, while greater concussion history was associated with lower MBRs (p < .01). MBRs of reliable decline were not associated with demographic or medical factors.
Clinical interpretation of low scores and reliable decline on ImPACT depends on the strictness of the low score cutoff, the reliable change criterion, and the number of scores exceeding these cutoffs. Race and ADHD influence the frequency of low scores at all cutoffs cross-sectionally.
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