The assessment of baseline neuropsychological functioning among collegiate athletes: the relevance of concussion history and concussion severity

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. 2003 Oct;


McKeever, C. K., J. Schneider, T. Covassin, M. L. Sachs, C. Neva, S. Kendzior, P. Schatz and E. A. Zillmer.



Objective: To investigate the differences in neuropsychological baseline functioning among collegiate varsity athletes with and without a history of concussion. To investigate the effects of disorientation and memory problems associated with previous concussions on neuropsychological functioning. Method: Over 1,400 collegiate Division 1 varsity student-athletes aged 18–21 participated in mandatory baseline and post-concussion testing on the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Test (ImPACT). The data were collected as part of a multi-institutional venture coordinated by the Philadelphia Sports Concussion Project. Athletes who had no history of concussion were compared to athletes who had had at least one concussion in their past athletic career. All ImPACT testing yielded composite scores reflecting performances in reaction time, verbal memory, visual memory, processing speed, and impulse control. Results: MANOVAs revealed significant interaction effects between the history of concussions on a measure of reaction time and univariate effects of disorientation and memory problems associated with previously sustained concussions on impulse control. This suggests that the presence of a sports related concussion and its residual effects are associated with real-life indices of cognitive performance. 776 Abstracts / Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 18 (2003) 687–807 Conclusion: Our study suggests that baseline neurocognitive assessment is a useful indicator of the association between lowered cognitive functioning and a history of concussion in collegiate athletes. Likewise, concussive symptoms such as disorientation and memory problems associated with previous concussion further complicate neurocognitive functioning. Further research is warranted to investigate the different effects of one versus multiple concussions on neurocognitive functioning as well as the proximity to when the injury occurred.

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