Effects of youth football on selected clinical measures of neurologic function: a pilot study

J Child Neurol. 2013 Nov;

29(12):1601-1607.

Munce, T. A., J. C. Dorman, T. O. Odney, P. A. Thompson, V. D. Valentine and M. F. Bergeron.

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Abstract:

We assessed 10 youth football players (13.4 +/- 0.7 y) immediately before and after their season to explore the effects of football participation on selected clinical measures of neurologic function. Postseason postural stability in a closed-eye condition was improved compared to preseason (P = .017). Neurocognitive testing with the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) battery revealed that reaction time was significantly faster at postseason (P = .015). There were no significant preseason versus postseason differences in verbal memory (P = .507), visual memory (P = .750), or visual motor speed (P = .087). Oculomotor performance assessed by the King-Devick test was moderately to significantly improved (P = .047-.115). A 12-week season of youth football did not impair the postural stability, neurocognitive function, or oculomotor performance measures of the players evaluated. Though encouraging, continued and more comprehensive investigations of this at-risk population are warranted.

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