The study is the first to provide a direct comparison of neurocognitive recovery in professional and younger athletes, within days of concussion occurrence, by using a computerized neurocognitive testing tool, ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). The project highlights the NFL's ongoing effort to study recovery from concussion.
NFL Athletes vs. High School Athletes
NFL athletes in this study demonstrated a rapid neuropsychological recovery following concussion. As a group, NFL players returned to pre-injury baseline neurocognitive performance in one week, with the majority of athletes having normal performance two days after injury. By comparison, the high school athletes demonstrated a slower injury recovery and longer lasting neuropsychological effects from concussions than the NFL athletes, according to study principal investigator Elliott Pellman, M.D., who is chairman of the NFL MTBI committee. "The most dramatic difference was evident on tests measuring reaction time and speed: NFL athletes demonstrated rapid return to expected normal levels of functioning while the high school group lagged behind," reported Dr. Pellman.
"This project is an example of how research at the NFL level is providing valuable information to help improve injury management at all levels of competition as well as directly contributing to the care of the NFL athlete," he added.
"Results of this study support previously published findings that indicate that NFL athletes recover quickly. We evaluated the athletes by using formal tests of reaction time, concentration and memory," said Mark Lovell, Ph.D., direct