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Concussions Impair Cognitive Performance In College Athletes

American College of Sports Medicine -- Student athletes may not realize that concussions may literally leave them at a loss for words.

The current focus on sports-related concussion has drawn attention to its effects on student-athletes. College-age athletes who suffered a concussion performed more poorly on tests for verbal memory, according to research presented at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine and 2nd World Congress on Exercise is MedicineĀ®.

"This study corroborates the effect of concussion on brain functioning in student-athletes," said Robert Gardner, lead researcher for this study and a student at Elon University in North Carolina. "In looking at 100 athletes from football, men's soccer and women's soccer, we found multiple signs of decreased cognitive processing." Each participant received Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Testing (ImPACTTM), as well as EEG testing while performing the Eriksen Flanker Task and an auditory oddball task.

Verbal memory was worse in those who had previously suffered a concussion compared with those who had not, according to Eric E. Hall, Ph.D., FACSM, principle investigator for the study. He said that these results, while not surprising, suggest the need for further research on the cognitive effects of concussion, particularly in the developing brains of children and adolescents.

More than 20 states have enacted laws since 2009 governing concussion in youth sports, focusing primarily on athletes of high school age and younger. Based on the Zackery Lystedt Law passed in Washington State, the laws typically call for education of athletes, parents and coaches about the dangers of concussion; removal from play or practice of a youth athlete who is suspected of having suffered a concussion; and return to play only after medical clearance.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine

Ā© 2012 MedicalNewsToday

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