Research: Cognitive Skills Affected by Contact Sports: The Long-term Effect of Repeated Head Trauma as an Adolescent
Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Teubl
Awards: Excellence in Medical Research Award, WESEF 2021
With athletics and competitive sports becoming increasingly popular in younger demographics, it is necessary to determine the long-term effects that are likely to occur. Traumatic brain injuries are extremely common when it comes to sports, but they often go untreated or undiagnosed. This fact leads us to the overall hypothesis that playing sports as an adolescent and gaining head injuries for said sport will have a negative impact on cognitive abilities. The methods to find this were as follows, participants were sent a Google form including information on the study. In addition to the information, participants were asked for their consent and approval of the study itself. Shortly after, participants were given various cognitive assessments such as the Simon task, the Verbal Paired Associates Assessment and the Word-Pair Assessment. After completing the tests, participants input their unique data ID and results into the form. When the scores for the Verbal Paired Associates Assessment were reviewed it was found that results were not statistically significant because the P-value was 0.12 which is greater than 0.05. Scoring varied and there were no clear outliers. For the Word-Pair Assessment, statistics continued to vary and have no clear relationship. With a P-value of 0.21, it was also found that results were not significantly significant. This led to failure to reject the null hypothesis. Continuation of research could be used to find more effective ways to monitor these issues before it is too late and serious damage has been done.
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