Computerized neuropsychological test performance of youth football players at different positions: A comparison of high and low contact players

Appl Neuropsychol Child. 2017 Feb;

Tsushima, W. T., Ahn, H. J., Siu, A. M., Fukuyama, T. and Murata, N. M..

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Abstract:

The aim of this study was to examine the effects of head impact frequency on the neuropsychological test results of football players who participate in different positions on the team. Based on the biomechanical measures of head impact frequency reported in high school football, a High Contact group (n = 480) consisting of offensive and defensive linemen was compared with a Low Contact group (n = 640) comprised of receivers and defensive backs. The results revealed that the High Contact group obtained poorer performances on the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) on three Composite scores (Verbal Memory, Visual Motor Speed, Impulse Control) and the Total Symptom score compared to the Low Contact group. The present study is the first, to date, to report differences in the neuropsychological test performances of athletes who participate in high and low contact football positions. The findings raise tentative concerns that youth football players exposed to repetitive head trauma, including subconcussive impacts, may be at risk for lowered neuropsychological functioning and increased symptoms.

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