History of concussion and baseline test performance for collegiate club sport versus varsity athletes

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Schatz, P., T. Covassin, C. K. McKeever, J. Palumbo, E. A. Zillmer and M. L. Sachs.



Objective: To evaluate the effects of gender and participation in collegiate varsity versus “club” sports on history of concussion and baseline cognitive performance. Method: Participants were grouped according to gender and sport type (varsity-soccer, field hockey, lacrosse; and club sport-ice hockey, rugby) from three universities with NCAA Division I athletic programs. Varsity athletes completed computer-based assessments using ImPACT software as part of mandatory pre-season medical evaluations. Club sport participants completed the same assessments voluntarily. Results: Club sport participants were significantly more likely to have sustained previous concussions than varsity athletes (χ2(2) = 25.86; P = .001), with no effects of gender noted. MANOVA revealed a significant effect of sport type [F(11, 240) = 2.73; P = .002] but not gender [F(11, 240) = 1.46; P = .15], with subsequent ANOVAs revealing univariate effects of sport type on number of concussions resulting in more self-reported complaints of disorientation, memory and retrograde amnesia by club sport participants. ImPACT baseline composite scores were not affected by sport type or gender. One significant interaction was noted between gender and sport type, with male club and female varsity participants reporting a greater number of symptoms. Conclusion: Collegiate club sport participants have a higher frequency of past concussions resulting in memory loss and disorientation, suggesting they may be at higher risk for concussion. Although performance on baseline cognitive testing was not lower for club sport participants, they should be closely monitored in concussion management programs afforded to varsity athletes.

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