Pro sports now considering use of 'King-Devick Test' when diagnosing concussions

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - When it comes to testing for concussions, a Chicago company is on the forefront.

The King-Devick Test has been utilized by amateur athletes for years, but now it might be getting the call to the big leagues.

Imagine your child was one of the millions each year to suffer head trauma playing youth sports. Well now, an app from a company based in Oakbrook Terrace could be the key to preventing an even more serious injury.

The King-Devick Test evaluates the fine movements of the eyes, and now the pros are taking notice, including the NHL.

Twelve NHL teams are evaluating King-Devick this season, and that could lead to league-wide adoption in the future.

Penguins star Sydney Crosby lost nearly a year battling post-concussion symptoms, beginning with a hit in the Winter Classic.

And the family of former Blackhawk Steve Montador claims head trauma during his NHL career lead to the brain disease CTE.

But diagnosing a concussion on ice isn't simple.

“Hockey has an additional challenge because one of the things they test for is balance and of course you can't test balance on skates,” said co-creator of the King-Devick Test Steve Devick.

FOX 32 spoke with parents of your hockey players last year, and many felt King-Devick made them feel safer about their children playing a contact sport.

“I’m a hockey coach, not a neurologist. So it had to be easy and simple to use, but it also had to be effective,” said Chicago Hawks Youth Coach Jeff Rogers.

“Kids are flying around at high speeds. We want to make sure we're protecting the children,” added Rob Newburg, also of Chicago Hawks Youth Hockey.

That is what has been the draw for parents and coaches for years: it's inexpensive, anyone can act as the test administrator, and after taking a baseline test before the season, the results are easy to read.

“Because I was slower than my baseline before the season,” Devick said. “It lights up red and says you should come out of the game and be evaluated by a doctor.”

And it's not just the NHL. Other professional leagues are considering King-Devick as well.

The NFL announced on Friday that diagnosed concussions were up 30-percent this year, and the league is now evaluating data from the Canadian Football League to determine if it should adopt the test as well.