Performance in sustained auditory attention task by concussed and non-concussed athletes
Concussions may pose a great danger to the brain, specifically to brains of athletes who are repeatedly exposing themselves to mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Covassin, Steame, and Elbin (2008) found that a history of concussions can affect neurocognitive functioning. De Beaumont et al. (2009) looked at former athletes who sustained their last concussion more than 30 years ago: electroencephalography (EEG) recordings showed athletes with a history of concussion demonstrated decreased attentional control during a standard auditory oddball target detection task. The behavioral results showed decreased performance on a variety of tasks. This may indicate issues in episodic memory and frontal lobe functions. These areas are sensitive to early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The current study uses an auditory oddball target detection task to detect attention in concussed and non-concussed collegiate athletes. It was hypothesized that concussed athletes would have a lower accuracy and slower reaction time than non-concussed athletes. Results indicated that males performed better, regardless of group. However, because of the small sample of males, females alone were also analyzed. Concussed females had a lower accuracy but were notably faster than non-concussed women. Concussed females also had a notably higher false alarm rate than non-concussed females. The sample size was too small to show significance, but running more participants may reveal more significant results.