Reliability of 5 novel reaction time and cognitive load protocols

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Journal of Sport Rehabilitation


Context: Reaction time (RT) is crucial to athletic performance. Therefore, when returning athletes to play following injury, it is important to evaluate RT characteristics ensuring a safe return. The Dynavision D2® system may be utilized as an assessment and rehabilitation aid in the determination of RT under various levels of cognitive load. Previous research has demonstrated good reliability of simple protocols when assessed following a 24- to 48-hour test-retest window. Expanding reliable test-retest intervals may further refine novel RT protocols for use as a diagnostic and rehabilitation tool. Objective: To investigate the test- retest reliability of a battery of 5 novel RT protocols at different time intervals. Design: Repeated measures/reliability. Setting: Interdisciplinary sports medicine research laboratory. Participants: Thirty healthy individuals. Methods: Participants completed a battery of protocols increasing in difficulty in terms of reaction speed requirement and cognitive load. Prior to testing, participants were provided 3 familiarization trials. All protocols required participants to hit as many lights as quickly as possible in 60 seconds. After completing the initial testing session (session 1), participants waited 1 hour before completing the second session (session 2). Approximately 2 weeks later (average 14 [4] d), the participants completed the same battery of tasks for the third session (session 3). Main Outcome Measures: The intraclass correlation coefficient, standard error of measurement, minimal detectable change, and repeated-measures analysis of variance were calculated for RT. Results: The intraclass correlation coefficient values for each of the 5 protocols illustrated good to excellent reliability between sessions 1, 2, and 3 (.75-.90). There were no significant differences across time points (F < 0.105, P > .05). Conclusions: The 1-hour and 14-day test-retest intervals are reliable for clinical assessment, expanding the time frames previously reported in the literature of when assessments can be completed reliably. This study provides novel protocols that challenge cognition in unique ways.

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