Member Presents Research on Comparing Neurocognitive Development of Concussed with Non-Concussed High School Athletes

Comparing Neurocognitive Development of Concussed with Non-Concussed High School Athletes

Hollywood, Fla. – Friday April 17, 2015– Brock J Niceler, M.D., Associate Professor at East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine – Bydand Medical Ctr., Greenville, NC, presented, " Comparing Neurocognitive Development of Concussed with Non-Concussed High School Athletes" today at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine in Hollywood, Florida.  Dr. Niceler presented on the important and complicated topic of the neurocognitive developmental effects of a concussion in the adolescent patient population.  

Dr. Niceler, clinical assistant professor at East Carolina University's Family Medicine Department, investigated whether concussed high school athletes have slower neurocognitive development as compared to non-concussed athletes.  This research is particularly interesting given the fact that the effects on neurocognitive development have not been definitively elucidated.  In addition, parents, athletes and those who support and care for them are becoming increasingly concerned about the effects of concussion in this patient population.  

The study was a retrospective chart review of 533 high school athletes aged 13-18 who were either concussed for the first time or were not concussed athletes. Every athlete underwent baseline preparticipation concussion baseline verbal and visual memory, psychomotor speed, executive functioning cognitive flexibility continuous performance task correct responses reaction time reaction time to time and shifting attention correct response time.  Each group scores were then compared with repeated testing one year later.  Dr. Niceler's group found that one year after,  concussed athletes did not show a statistical difference in computerized neurocognitive testing. 

"After a single concussion, it appears at that you not show any narrow cognitive development slowing as compared to their non-concussed counterparts,” said Dr. Niceler.  “However, further analysis is needed to determine if multiple concussions or a postconcussion syndrome a could adversely affect neurocognitive development."  

Lastly, this retrospective chart review also highlights the need for further research including but not limited to understanding the role and the timing of computerized neurocognitive testing in drawing conclusions about the neurocognitive development of concussed adolescent athletes.

The 2015 conference, with more than 1,500 sports medicine physicians attending from throughout the United States and around the world, explores current decisions, controversies and best practices related to return-to-play decision making that defines the clinical practice of sports medicine.

About the AMSSM Annual Meeting: The conference features lectures and research addressing the most challenging topics in sports medicine today including issues surrounding FIFA & soccer injuries, ACL injury prevention, cardiovascular disease, degenerative joint disease, the power of physical activity in maintaining a healthy population, baseball injuries, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, sports ultrasound, pediatric sports medicine, groin pain/athletic pubalgia and provocative issues dealing with return-to-play decision making.

About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of 2,700+ sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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