Neurocognitive vulnerability amongst university rugby players versus noncontact sport controls

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2008 Nov;30(8):870-84. doi: 10.1080/13803390701846914. Epub 2008 Apr 10.


University rugby players were compared with IQ-equivalent noncontact sports controls on memory and attentional tasks at the pre- and postseason intervals. Results revealed significant lowering for rugby players relative to controls at the postseason interval for attentional tasks with a speeded visuomotor component (ImPACT Visual Motor Speed; Trail Making Test, TMT, A and B). There was a practice effect for controls only between the pre- and postseason intervals for attentional tasks that commonly reveal improvements after a long retest interval (TMT A and B; Digits Backwards). Medium to large effect sizes implicate clinically relevant cognitive vulnerability for university-level rugby players in association with years of exposure to repetitive concussive injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Football / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Universities
  • Young Adult