Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Human Performance and Health Promotion


Human Performance and Health Promotion

Major Professor

Kontos, Anthony

Second Advisor

O'Hanlon, Ann

Third Advisor

Warren, Barbara

Fourth Advisor

Loftin, Mark


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of aerobic fitness level on concussion risk, severity and recovery in high school football players. Participants (N=158) completed aerobic fitness (i.e., estimated VO2 max) and baseline neurocognitive tests (i.e., ImPACT). Concussed athletes completed ImPACT every 24-72 hours until they were asymptomatic or returned to baseline levels. A post-season questionnaire assessed unreported concussions and symptoms. Twenty players incurred concussions. Previously concussed athletes were 3.71 times more likely to be concussed than those with no concussion history. Severely concussed participants reported lingering symptoms. Previously concussed athletes high in aerobic fitness reported fewer symptoms than those low in aerobic fitness. Non-significant trends suggested that aerobic fitness might be related to faster recovery times and fewer symptoms. Twenty-eight percent (n= 38) of non-concussed participants reported a potential concussion and symptoms that were not recorded by medical staff during the season.


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