Exploring differences in computerized neurocognitive concussion testing between African American and White athletes

Archives of clinical neuropsychology : the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists -


Kontos, A. P., R. J. Elbin, 3rd, T. Covassin and E. Larson.



The purpose of the current study was to explore potential differences in pre- and post-concussion performance on a computerized neurocognitive concussion test between African American and White high-school and collegiate student-athletes. A prospective case-control design was used to compare baseline and 2- and 7-day post-concussion computerized neurocognitive performance and symptoms between 48 White and 48 African American athletes matched for age, gender, and concussion history. The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Cognitive Test (ImPACT) version 2.0 (NeuroHealth System, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA) computer software program was used to assess neurocognitive function (i.e., verbal and visual memory, motor processing speed, and reaction time) and concussion symptoms. Regardless of race/ethnicity, there were significant decrements in computerized neurocognitive performance and increased symptoms following a concussion for the entire sample. African Americans and Whites did not differ significantly on baseline or post-concussion verbal memory, visual memory, reaction time, and total reported symptoms. However, African American participants were 2.4x more likely to have at least one clinically significant cognitive decline on ImPACT at 7 days post-concussion and scored lower at 7 days post-concussion compared with baseline on processing speed than White participants. The authors concluded that the baseline ImPACT test was culturally equivalent and construct valid for use with these two racial/ethnic groups. However, in contrast, the findings support deleterious performance for the African American athletes compared with the White athletes on the ImPACT post-concussion evaluation that is of critical clinical relevance and warrants further research.

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