Objective: The long-term impact of sports-related concussion is uncertain. Several studies using traditional neuropsychological measures have found a relationship between a previous history of concussion and reduced cognitive abilities. In contrast, studies using computerized neuropsychological measures have typically found no relationship between concussion history and cognition. In the present study, we examined the association between a self-reported concussion history and cognition using traditional and computer-based neuropsychological tests.
Methods: A computerized neuropsychological battery was administered to a sample of 858 collegiate male athletes. Of this sample, 298 athletes reported a history of concussion. A traditional neuropsychological battery was administered to a separate sample of 479 male collegiate athletes, 187 of whom reported a history of concussion. Finally, both a computerized and a traditional neuropsychological battery were administered to a third distinct sample of 175 male collegiate athletes, 57 of whom reported a history of concussion. Concussion history was assessed via self-report. None of the athletes had been concussed in the 6 months before testing.
Results: No significant association was found between self-reported concussion history and performance on either computerized or traditional neuropsychological tests.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that athletes who report a distant history of concussion have minimal enduring neurocognitive deficits. Given conflicting findings in the literature, prospective studies that attempt to identify moderating factors are necessary to help determine who is at risk for long-term cognitive difficulties after concussion.