Peyton Manning and Like-Minded Concussion-Test Cheaters: You Might Not Be Able to Get Away With It

A just-published study shows that even if you try to bomb a concussion test, you might very well get caughtcaughtcaught.

That includes you, Peyton Manning.

According to a study published in the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, it's not all that easy to purposely fail a pre-concussion baseline exam. The practice of intentionally attempting to score low on the ImPACT test so that follow-up results might look better -- and, in turn, could trick licensed physicians into allowing concussed athletes to return to his or her sport -- was explored in our "Knocked Out" cover story.

Seventy-five male and female collegiate athletes, who had been given "financial incentives," were instructed to try and fail miserably at the ImPACT baseline test. Using validity checks, only 11 percent were able to fool the system, while the remaining 89 percent weren't good enough fakers.

"The data suggests that 'sandbagging' the baseline, even under conditions involving motivation, instruction and experience with the test, is difficult to accomplish without being detected," concluded Dr. Kristi Erdal of Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

According to ImPACT, "This is the first study of its kind to examine the sandbagging phenomenon in athletes," a phenomenon that a (possibly facetious) Manning told a sportswriter in April 2011 that he's all about so that he doesn't have to lose out on playing time.

In "Knocked Out," David Hovda, professor and director of the University of California-Los Angeles' Brain Injury Research Center, called into question the effectiveness of tests that are supposed to detect whether an athlete has suffered a concussion or not.

"It's better than nothing," said Hovda about ImPACT. "I don't mean any disrespect, but neuropsychological tests, which require responses and performance from individuals, are always going to have problems because there's always going to be variances."

Whether the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology piece is spot on or not, one thing's for sure: Listen to your doctors and stop taking jackass chances with your brain.

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen