Eye Movements Detect Differential Change after Participation in Male Collegiate Collision versus Non-Collision Sports

Neurotrauma Reports. 2021 Nov;


Gallagher, V. T., Murthy, P., Stocks, J., Vesci, B., Mjaanes, J., Chen, Y., . . . Reilly, J. L..



Although neuroimaging studies of collision (COLL) sport athletes demonstrate alterations in brain structure and function from pre- to post-season, reliable tools to detect behavioral/cognitive change relevant to functional networks associated with participation in collision sports are lacking. This study evaluated the use of eye-movement testing to detect change in cognitive and sensorimotor processing among male club collegiate athletes after one season of participation in collision sports of variable exposure. We predicted that COLL (High Dose [hockey], n?=?8; Low Dose [rugby], n?=?9) would demonstrate longer reaction times (antisaccade and memory-guided saccade [MGS] latencies), increased inhibitory errors (antisaccade error rate), and poorer spatial working memory (MGS spatial accuracy) at post-season, relative to pre-season, whereas non-collision collegiate athletes (NON-COLL; n?=?17) would remain stable. We also predicted that whereas eye-movement performance would detect pre- to post-season change, ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test) performance would remain stable. Our data showed that NON-COLL had shorter (improved performance) post- versus pre-season antisaccade and MGS latencies, whereas COLL groups showed stable, longer, or attenuated reduction in latency (ps?≤?0.001). Groups did not differ in antisaccade error rate. On the MGS task, NON-COLL demonstrated improved spatial accuracy over time, whereas COLL groups showed reduced spatial accuracy (p?

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