Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)


Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Stephen A. Russo

Second Advisor

Barry Nierenberg

Third Advisor

Ryan Black


Brain Injury, Concussion, Neurocognitive, Rehabilitation


The identification of sport-related concussion (mild traumatic brain injury [mTBI]), its neurocognitive sequelae, and subsequent management have become a top priority within a spectrum of research disciplines at the intersection of psychology and sports medicine. To properly understand the complex neurocognitive changes associated with sport-related concussion in high school age individuals, multiple aspects of the injury were explored including the psychobiological nature of the injury, diagnostic concerns, normative adolescent neurocognitive development and abnormal changes as a result of the injury, and risk for further injury. While a wealth of literature exists in these areas, one aspect in particular, neurocognitive changes associated with sport-related mTBI in adolescents, is the focus of this research study. A review of the current research reveals a lack of exploration into neurocognitive deficits over-time as early as adolescence. To advance the understanding of how sport-related concussions may influence neurocognitive performance during this vulnerable age for brain development, multiple group comparisons were conducted to determine differences based upon reported concussion history. Results suggest that adolescents who experience sport-related concussion demonstrate significantly reduced levels of neurocognitive performance in several domains on initial baseline testing. Furthermore, these findings generally persist upon follow-up neurocognitive testing during adolescence. Thus, persistent neurocognitive deficits found during adolescence may have profound implications for brain development and concussion management.

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