No evidence of impaired neurocognitive performance in collegiate soccer players

Am J Sports Med. Mar-Apr 2002;30(2):157-62. doi: 10.1177/03635465020300020201.


A high incidence of cerebral concussion has been reported among soccer players. We studied whether long-term or chronic neuropsychological dysfunction was present in collegiate soccer players. Two hundred forty subjects from a National Collegiate Athletic Association division I institution were stratified into three groups: soccer athletes (91), nonsoccer athletes (96 women's field hockey, women's lacrosse, and baseball players), and controls (53 college students). Subjects completed a concussion history questionnaire and underwent preseason baseline neuropsychological testing before the start of either the freshman or sophomore year. Data were collected on the results of six neuropsychological tests and from a concussion history questionnaire for number of previous concussions, Scholastic Aptitude Test results, and exposure to soccer and heading. Despite an average of 15.3 seasons of soccer exposure and a higher prevalence of previous concussions, the soccer athletes did not demonstrate impaired neurocognitive function or scholastic aptitude when compared with the nonsoccer athletes or the student nonathletes. Additionally, there was no significant relationship between a history of soccer-related concussion and either neurocognitive performance or scholastic aptitude. Neither participation in soccer nor a history of soccer-related concussions was associated with impaired performance of neurocognitive function in high-level United States soccer players.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Brain Concussion / etiology*
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Soccer / injuries*