The use of normative data is a hallmark of the neuropsychological assessment process. Within the context of sports-related concussion, utilizing normative data is especially essential when individualized baseline data are unavailable for comparison. The primary purpose of this study was to establish normative data for a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery used in the assessment of sports-related concussion. A secondary aim was to provide normative data for pertinent demographic variables relevant to the assessment of college athletes, including sex, previous head injuries (PHI), and history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)/learning disability (LD).
Participants included male and female college athletes ( N = 794) who were involved in a concussion management program at an NCAA Division I university between 2002 and 2015. Athletes were administered a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery at baseline designed to assess the following cognitive domains: learning and memory, attention and concentration, processing speed, and executive functioning. The test battery primarily comprises paper-and-pencil measures.
Normative data are presented for the overall athlete sample. Additional sub-norms are then provided for specified demographic populations (i.e., sex, PHIs, and history of ADHD/LD). Findings indicate that there are mild cognitive differences between men and women, as well as between those athletes with and without a history of ADHD/LD. Given these findings, additional norms are provided for men and women with and without a history of ADHD/LD.
In the absence of baseline testing, the normative data presented here can be used clinically to assess athletes’ cognitive functioning post-concussion.