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  • Background: Collegiate football players experience increased exposure to repetitive head impacts. These subconcussive head impacts can cause vestibulo-oculomotor (VOM) dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and depressive symptomatology1-4
  • Purpose: To determine the prevalence of VOM dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and depressive symptomology in cleared to play football players


  • Participants: 62 male Division II Football players from Concordia University, Saint Paul
  • Tests and Measures:
    • Dynamic Visual Acuity (DVA)
    • Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT)
    • Near Point Convergence (NPC)
    • Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)


  • Over half (51.6%) of cleared-to-play athletes presented with at least one positive VOM test
  • Eight participants (12.9%) scored >16 points on the CES-D indicating clinically significant symptoms of depression
  • Twenty participants (22.5%) scored one or two standard deviations below the group-mean PASAT score suggesting impaired cognitive functioning


  • Testing revealed a high number of abnormal results in cleared-to-play football players suggesting referral to health services may be appropriate
  • Results are especially informative given the reduced-contact season due to COVID-19 protocols

Clinical Relevance

  • Many cleared to play athletes may be playing in the presence of V-O dysfunction
  • Cognitive impairment and depression symptomatology should be monitored for long term health and wellness
  • A more holistic approach is necessary to objectively assess athletes exposed to frequent subconcussive head impacts



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