• Athletes reporting premorbid anxiety and/or depression perform worse on visual motor speed components of neurocognitive testing
  • No differences were found between matched controls and athletes reporting premorbid anxiety and/or depression on baseline Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening and King-Devick assessments
  • Athletes reporting premorbid anxiety and/or depression report higher symptom severity scores than matched controls
  • Poorer visual motor speed performance and higher symptom severity scores are not unusual for athletes with premorbid psychological conditions


Concussion has become a growing concern among sport and healthcare practitioners. Experts continue to investigate ways to advance the quality of concussion evaluation, diagnosis and management. Psychological conditions have been reported to influence concussion assessment outcomes at baseline and post-concussion; however, little evidence has examined psychological conditions and their effect on multifaceted measures of concussion. A retrospective cohort design was employed to examine differences between those with and without a premorbid psychological condition for high school and collegiate athletes who completed a preseason baseline battery, consisting of symptom reporting, computerized neurocognitive assessment, Vestibular-Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS), and the King-Devick (KD) test. Forty athletes within the sample self-reported a diagnosed psychological risk factor, consisting of depression and/or anxiety, and each were matched with a discordant control. Controls were matched on sex, age, sport, concussion history and ocular history. Athletes with psychological conditions reported higher symptom severity and had worse visual motor speed than controls. There were no differences between groups on other neurocognitive domains, VOMS, or KD. These results suggest that vestibular-ocular tools may be more consistent or less likely to vary between those with and without a premorbid psychological diagnosis, adding value to tools such as the KD and VOMS.
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