Comparison of preseason, midseason, and postseason neurocognitive scores in uninjured collegiate football players

Am J Sports Med. 2007 Aug;35(8):1284-8. doi: 10.1177/0363546507300261. Epub 2007 Apr 3.


Background: College football players sustain an average of 3 subconcussive blows to the head per game. Concussions correlate with decreases in standardized neurocognitive test scores. It is not known whether repetitive, subconcussive microtrauma associated with participation in a full season of collision sport affects neurocognitive test scores.

Hypothesis: No difference exists between preseason, midseason, and postseason Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC) and Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) scores when collegiate football players sustain subconcussive microtrauma from forceful, repetitive contact activity.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Fifty-eight members of a Division III collegiate football team who had no known concussion during the season voluntarily completed the SAC and ImPACT instruments preseason, midseason, and postseason. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used to compare the scores at the 3 time intervals (P < .05).

Results: No statistically significant decreases were found in overall SAC or ImPACT scores or in any of the domains or composites of the tests (P < .05) when preseason, midseason, and postseason scores were evaluated.

Conclusions: ImPACT and SAC neurocognitive test scores are not significantly altered by a season of repetitive contact in collegiate football athletes who have not sustained a concussion.

Clinical relevance: A diminution in SAC or ImPACT scores in concert with clinical symptoms and findings should be interpreted as evidence of a postconcussive event.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain Concussion / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Football*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • United States
  • Universities