The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of sports-related head injury on balance, attention, and memory. Reliable differences have been found using measures that directly tap into brain functioning, such as the auditory oddball task combined with EEG recording. We hypothesized that athletes reporting a diagnosed concussion or participation in high-risk sports would have compromised balance and neurocognitive functioning compared to athletes in low risk sports. Forty-five undergraduate participants were identified as either concussed, non-concussed in high-risk sports, or non-concussed in low-risk sports using a survey of athletic history, head trauma and demographics. The Biopac MP36 system, a balance board, and the BESS protocol was used to measure balance. E-prime and a 32 channel electrode EEG system was used to conduct an auditory oddball test and a working-memory task. No significant differences were found between groups for balance or accuracy on the oddball test or working memory task. EEG analysis showed no significance differences in latency (response time) but participants who reported a concussion or participation in a high-risk sport did have significantly lower amplitude (response strength) compared to those in low-risk sports. There was also an inverse correlation between errors in the attention task and amplitude. Consistent with prior research, no differences were found using behavioral measures of attention and memory, but more sensitive EEG measures were able to detect subtle differences between groups.
Ross-Simmons, Shaquanda D.; Vieyra, Michelle L.; Jain, Abhishek; and Weed, Keri
"The Effects of Sports Related Head Impact on Balance and Neurocognitive Functions,"
Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science: Vol. 15:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jscas/vol15/iss2/2