Introducing the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool – 6th Edition (SCAT6)
June 15, 2023
By Tina Chen
A landmark development in concussion management, the most recent iteration of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, known as SCAT6, has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The SCAT6 is a thoroughly researched, standardized, and evidence-based tool used in the assessment and management of concussions in athletes. A team of international experts in the field of sports medicine, including the Concussion Center Director Dr. Steven Broglio, meticulously selected the components of the SCAT6 based on a review of the medical literature that included more than 420 published papers.
Steve Broglio, PhD, Director, U-M Concussion Center
“It was an honor to contribute to the Concussion in Sport Group (CISG) that developed the SCAT6. The team’s focus was crystal clear – ‘What are the best tools available to protect the health and well-being of active individuals?”
Reflecting on his involvement, Dr. Broglio noted, “It was an honor to contribute to the Concussion in Sport Group (CISG) that developed the SCAT6. The team’s focus was crystal clear – ‘What are the best tools available to protect the health and well-being of active individuals?’” The importance of timely identification and management of concussions for athletes’ safety and welfare cannot be overstated, and the SCAT is a widely acknowledged tool utilized by healthcare professionals to evaluate and monitor athletes who may have suffered a concussion. The SCAT6 is best used within the first 72 hours of a suspected injury and provides a structured approach to assessing concussions by evaluating a range of features commonly associated with concussion.
The U-M Concussion Center recently hosted Dr. Ruben Echemendia, lead author of the SCAT6, Director of the National Hockey League’s Neuropsychological Testing Program, and Co-Chair of the NHL/NHLPA Concussion Subcommittee, to discuss the process and method supporting the design of the new SCAT6 tool. In Dr. Echemendia’s presentation, he noted: “We (CISG) wanted a very structured format that had transparency, with a clinically applicable outcome. It’s a true approach towards translational knowledge and getting the information out there.”
The SCAT6 consists of several components, including a screening for injuries more severe than a concussion, a symptom evaluation, a cognitive assessment, and a coordination and balance examination. One of the significant benefits of SCAT6 is its standardized approach to concussion assessment. It enhances the accuracy and reliability of concussion evaluations, leading to more informed decision-making regarding an athlete’s health status. Moreover, the SCAT6 facilitates communication among healthcare professionals, coaches, and athletes.
Ruben Echemendia, PhD, Lead Author of SCAT6
“We wanted a very structured format that had transparency, with a clinically applicable outcome. It’s a true approach towards translational knowledge and getting the information out there.”
By adopting a common language and assessment tools, different stakeholders involved in an athlete’s care can effectively exchange information and collaborate on appropriate management strategies. This interdisciplinary approach helps ensure the athlete’s well-being and minimizes the risk of further injury.
While the SCAT6 is one part of the comprehensive evaluation process for concussions, it should be used in conjunction with a thorough medical evaluation performed by a healthcare professional. The launch of SCAT6 is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the international community ensuring athlete safety, providing that strides are being made towards better understanding and management of concussion in sports.
Interested in hearing more from the co-authors of the SCAT6 Tool:
- Ruben J. Echemendia – Speaker Series: “The Process and Science Underlying the New SCAT6 Tools”
- Kevin M. Guskiewicz – Concussion Headliners Podcast
- Michael A. McCrea – Concussion Headliners Podcast