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Brain Inj. 2009 Oct;23(11):899-906. doi: 10.1080/02699050903283189.

Electrophysiological abnormalities in well functioning multiple concussed athletes.

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Centre de Recherche en Neuropsychologie et Cognition, Université de Montréal, Canada.



The present study was aimed at characterizing the short- and long-term effects of multiple concussions using an electrophysiological approach.


Participants for this study were recruited from college football teams. They included athletes who never sustained concussions compared to two groups of asymptomatic multiple concussed athletes, one that sustained their last concussion within the year and the other more than 2 years prior to testing. All participants were submitted to an auditory three-tone Oddball paradigm while event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded.


Results from ERP recordings reveal significantly reduced P3a and P3b amplitudes in the recent concussed group in the three-tone task compared to control athletes. In contrast, athletes who sustained their concussions more than 2 years prior to testing had equivalent P3a and P3b amplitude to that of controls.


These findings suggest that, despite functioning normally in their daily lives, concussed athletes still show subtle neuronal changes in information processing. Thus, the persistence of sub-clinical abnormalities on ERP components despite normal overt functioning may indicate sub-optimal compensation in multiple concussed athletes and leave them vulnerable to subsequent concussions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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