The neuropsychology of repeated 1- and 3-meter springboard diving among college athletes

Appl Neuropsychol. 2003;10(1):23-30. doi: 10.1207/S15324826AN1001_4.


This study examined the neuropsychological effects of repeated springboard diving. It was hypothesized that the impact velocity, which can range from 20 to 30 mph, and accompanying deceleration in the water may lead to concussions and affect the diver's cognitive function. Six varsity National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 springboard divers participated in the study. Each diver performed a total of 50 practice dives from either the 1- or 3-m springboard. After each set of 10 dives, the participants were immediately evaluated at poolside using the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, the Stroop Color Word Test, and the Trail Making Test B. Baseline testing revealed, consistent with their athletic specialty, clear neurocognitive strengths among the divers on tests sensitive to proprioception, motor speed, and visual-spatial organization. Results from the serial assessments indicated no detectable neuropsychological deficits among competitive divers compared to baseline testing. Skilled diving at the collegiate level appears to be a safe sport and water appears to present the perfect medium for gradual deceleration. More studies, however, are warranted for 5-, 7.5-, and 10-m platform diving since the impact velocity of the diver from these heights is higher.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Cognition
  • Diving / injuries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Proprioception
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Universities