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Introduction: Since verbal memory and visual processing transpire within analogous cerebral regions, this study assessed (i) if a visual function can predict verbal memory performance. It also hypothesized whether neurocognitive (e.g., ImPACT) tests focusing on the Visual Memory and Cognitive Efficacy Index will predict Verbal Memory scores and (ii) if vision metrics and age can identify individuals with a history of concussion. Finally, it also hypothesized that King–Devick and near point of convergence scores alongside age considerations will identify candidates with a prior reported history of concussion. Materials and methods: This observational cohort assessed 25 collegiate ice hockey players prior to the competitive season considering age (19.76 ± 1.42 years) and BMI (25.9 ± 3.0 kg/cm2). Hypothesis 1 was assessed using a hierarchical (sequential) multiple regression analysis, assessing the predictive capacity of Visual Memory and Cognitive Efficacy Index scores in relation to Verbal Memory scores. Hypothesis 2 utilized a binomial logistic regression to determine if King–Devick and near point of convergence scores predict those with a prior history of concussion. Results: Hypothesis 1 developed two models, where Model 1 included Visual Memory as the predictor, while Model 2 added the Cognitive Efficacy Index as a predictor for verbal memory scores. Model 1 significantly explained 41% of the variance. Results from Model 2 suggest that the Cognitive Efficacy Index explained an additional 24.4%. Thus, Model 2 was interpreted where only the Cognitive Efficacy Index was a significant predictor (p = 0.001). For every 1 unit increase in the Cognitive Efficacy Index, Verbal Memory increased by 41.16. Hypothesis 2’s model was significant, accounting for 37.9% of the variance in those with a history of concussion. However, there were no significant unique predictors within the model as age (Wald = 1.26, p = 0.261), King–Devick (Wald = 2.31, p = 0.128), and near point of convergence (Wald = 2.43, p = 0.119) were not significant predictors individually. Conclusions: The conflicting findings of this study indicate that baseline data for those with a history of concussion greater than one year may not be comparable to the same metrics during acute concussion episodes. Young athletes who sustain a concussion may be able to overcompensate via the visual system. Future prospective studies with larger sample sizes are required using the proposed model’s objective metrics.


This article was originally published in Sports, volume 12, issue 5, in 2024.

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