Differences In Concussion Testing Between African American and White Athletes

Football Team

The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Cognitive Test (ImPACT) is a software program that assesses neurocognitive function after a concussion. It has been promoted as a more sensitive, easier-to-use test than traditional pen and paper assessments, and it has become commonly used by sports medicine professionals.

Past research has found differences in test scores between African American and White athletes when using other cognitive assessments. Therefore, similar research using ImPACT was warranted. A recent study found no differences in ImPACT scores between African American and White athletes-suggesting that the ImPACT should be a culturally valid tool.

However, the ImPACT in this study was administered immediately after a concussion. When the same athletes were tested 7 days after their concussion, African American athletes showed significantly more cognitive impairment than White athletes. The reason for this difference is currently unknown and requires further research.

Kontos AP, Elbin III RJ, Covassin T, & Larson E. Exploring differences in computerized neurocognitive concussion testing between African American and White athletes. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology. (November 2010).