Abstract

Objective: This study investigated differences in cognitive processes and symptom reporting between high school age athletes with and without a history of dyslexia. Method: A sample of 138 athletes with dyslexia (ages 14 to 18) were compared to an age and gender matched sample of 138 athletes without dyslexia. The performance of the groups was compared at baseline testing and at post-injury evaluation within one week of injury. All data was extracted from a large de-identified database of high school athletes. Data were analyzed via a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with the presence or absence of dyslexia representing the independent variable (factor) and baseline vs. post injury evaluation representing the within subjects factor. The dependent variables consisted of the Verbal Memory, Visual Memory, Visual Motor Processing, Reaction Time, and Symptom Scale composites from the ImPACT test battery. Results: Athletes with dyslexia scored lower on all ImPACT cognitive measures (F = 12.04, p < .000001). No significant differences were found with regard to self-reported symptoms. Significant differences were found both at baseline and post injury (F = 19.60, p < .00000). Conclusion(s): Athletes with and without dyslexia differed significantly at baseline and at post-injury. This study highlights the importance of comparing the post-injury performance of dyslexic athletes to their own baseline, and the need for norms specifically on athletes with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.