Paul Carrillo-Mora, Neuroscience Division, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación LGII, Mexico City, Mexico Vania Aldrete-Cortez, Laboratory of Neuroscience and Cognitive Development, School of Psychology, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, Mexico Jorge A. Guzmán-Cortés, Escuela Superior de Actopan, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Hidalgo, Mexico Guadalupe García-de la Torre, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico Laura Tirado-Gómez, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico Luz Navarro, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico María Soto-Lara, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico Kenia F. Franyutti-Prado, Hospital General “Dr. Fernando Quiroz Gutiérrez,” Internal Medicine Service, Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE), Mexico City, Mexico Karina G. Barajas-Martínez, Departamento de Consulta de Especialidad, Hospital Fundación Nuestra Señora de la Luz, Mexico City. Mexico


Background: Repeated head trauma associated with sports activities can cause subtle cognitive alterations in amateur players, but these are difficult to detect. Objective: The objective of this pilot study was to determine if there is an association between executive functions performance and different sports practice variables in a sample of amateur American football players. Methods: A pilot transversal study with amateur American football male players without previous neurological or psychiatric illnesses, drug abuse, or consumption of psychotropic medications were carried out and evaluated executive functions performance using automated test. In addition, the levels of stress, impulsivity, and symptoms of anxiety and depression were evaluated, as well as multiple variables related to sports practice such as previous concussions, time of sports practice, weekly training time, and position within the game. Results: Fourteen men players were assessed, with an average age of 20.57 (standard deviation [SD] ± 1.61) years, played 7 (50%) in an offensive position, 7 (50%) in defensive position, and 3 (21%) presented previous sport-related brain trauma. The average time of practice football was of 35.07 (SD ± 43.10) months, starting age of football playing 17.71 (SD ± 3.64), and hours of training during the week 5.75 (SD ± 2.83). There was no association between cognitive performance and any sports practice variable, however, the offensive position showed significant association with impairments in the highest span of visual working memory task (β = 0.53, SE = 0.16, p = 0.001). Conclusion: The results suggest that executive tasks with high cognitive demand may reveal alterations in the short term in amateur American football players.



Keywords: Traumatic brain injury. Concussion. Executive functions. Sports. Cognition.