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Neurosurgery. 1996 Sep;39(3):510-4.

Neuropsychological functioning and recovery after mild head injury in collegiate athletes.

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Department of Physical Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, USA.



This study prospectively examined neuropsychological functioning in 2300 collegiate football players from 10 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division A universities. The study was designed to determine the presence and duration of neuropsychological symptoms after mild head injury.


A nonequivalent repeated measures control group design was used to compare the neuropsychological test scores and symptoms of injured players (n = 183) with those of gender, age, and education matched controls. A number of neuropsychological tests, including the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, the Digit Symbol Test, and the Trail Making Test, as well as a symptom checklist were used.


Players and controls were assessed before engaging in game activity and 24 hours, 5 days, and 10 days after injury, using the standardized test battery and symptom checklist.


Players with head injuries displayed impaired performance and increased symptoms in comparison to controls, but this impairment resolved within 5 days in most players. Players with head injuries showed significant improvement between 24 hours and 5 days, as well as between 5 and 10 days.


Although single, uncomplicated mild head injuries do cause limited neuropsychological impairment, injured players generally experience rapid resolution of symptoms with minimal prolonged sequelae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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