Objective: Few studies have tracked neurologic function in youth football players longitudinally. This study aimed to determine whether changes in tests of auditory, vestibular, and/or visual functions are evident after participation in one or two seasons of youth tackle football.
Study Design: Prospective cohort study.
Subjects and Methods: Before their 2017 and/or 2018 seasons, male tackle football players (ages 7-14 yrs) completed three tests that tend to exhibit acute disruptions following a concussion: (1) the FFR (frequency-following response), a physiologic test of auditory function, (2) the BESS (Balance Error Scoring System), a test of vestibular function, and (3) the King-Devick, a test of oculomotor function. We planned to repeat these on all subjects at the end of each season.
Results: Performance on neurosensory tests was stable, with no changes observed in FFR or King-Devick and a slight improvement observed in BESS performance across each season. Performance was also stable over two years for the subjects who participated both years. Across-season test-retest reliability correlations were high.
Conclusions: In the absence of concussion, young athletes’ performance on the FFR, King-Devick, and BESS is stable across one or two seasons of youth tackle football.WhiteSchwoch_etal_BrainInj_2020