Will Kite play or won't he? It's all in the cards BEFORE Manly prop Brent Kite gets a medical clearance to compete against Newcastle on Friday night, he will play a computer game with team doctor Paul Bloomfield tomorrow. If he passes this test, he can take the field. If he doesn't, he will be sidelined on the bench in his suit. The computer game is simple. Kite will have to press buttons as soon as a playing card is shown face up, deciding the colour of the cards and reacting accordingly. Then the test becomes harder. He will have to watch five jiggling cards randomly approaching white lines. As soon as a card touches a line, Kite will have to press a key. NRL team doctors say the CogSports test, which measures brain cognition, is just as important as the game's more traditional examinations of physical strength. Kite was knocked out for three minutes in a round-21 match against Parramatta nearly two weeks ago, with Eels prop Fuifui Moimoi receiving a seven-week ban for a reckless high tackle. It was feared Kite, who has suffered headaches and sluggishness, could miss up to a month. The CogSports test results will determine if there has since been any improvement in his condition. Manly, like many NRL clubs, have been using CogSports tests for the past three seasons. The technique was developed from tests performed on AFL players, but the concept of using computers to provide detailed analysis of brain cognition stemmed from research with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Convincing a player he has not recovered sufficiently from concussion to return to the field is tough for doctors, especially as most such injuries mean just a week on the sidelines. But the big red crosses on the test results show if the player's brain is not working as effectively or quickly as it usually does. "It is a very good feedback mechanism for the players to understand that they may not be as well recovered as they think they are," Bulldogs doctor Hugh Hazard said. "The test gives us an objective assessment of their baseline cognitive function and then whether there is any change to that. It helps us monitor any players who may have been knocked unconscious and then have problems in recovery. If they don't pass the test, we don't allow them to return." While the sight of a player being knocked out is dramatic, the effects of such an injury usually involve interference with the functioning of the brain, rather than any structural damage. "Usually, there is no underlying trauma and the recovery is usually fairly rapid," Hazard said. Data collected from NRL doctors in the 2005 season showed the number of head injuries had declined for the second year running. Head injuries comprised 6.9 per cent of all injuries and, on average, a player would miss two matches with a head injury. But a rules crackdown on contact to the head and neck has led to fewer head injuries caused by foul play. Most head injuries occurred when being tackled (54.7 per cent), followed by tackling (31.8), accidental contact (9.7) and foul play (3.8) Research into the AFL showed 199 cases of concussion between 2000 and 2003. More than 90 per cent of players did not miss one game.