Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (MS)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


R.J. Elbin

Committee Member

Matthew Ganio

Second Committee Member

Brendon McDermott


Concussion, Exertion, Neurocognitive Testing


Background: Computerized neurocognitive testing is part of the recommended multi-faceted approach to SRC assessment. Prior research has suggested that maximal exertion negatively effects CNT test scores. Purpose: To identify the appropriate timing of the administration of CNT following maximal exertion in healthy college-aged students. Study Design: Random cross-over, repeated measures design. Methods: Participants will be administered CNT on four different visits, with at least one week between administrations. A VO2 max treadmill test will be performed before CNT administration during three of the four trials. Following the VO2 max test, participants will rest for <2 minutes (immediate), 10-minutes, or 20-minutes before taking CNT. The fourth trial, without maximal exertion preceding CNT administration, will serve as the control. All trials will be randomly-counterbalanced to negate practice effects. RESULTS: There was a significant within-subjects effect for prescribed post-exertion recovery intervals on total symptom scores (Wilks λ = .62, F [3, 23] = 4.64, p = .01, η2= .38). Total symptom scores were significantly higher at the immediate (p < .002), 10-minutes (p = .018), and 20-minutes (p = .011) post-exertion recovery intervals compared to baseline. Additionally, a significantly positive within-subjects effect for prescribed post exertion recovery was observed for processing speed (p=.009, Wilks λ = .60, F [3, 27] = 5.9, η2 = .396). No significant effect was observed for visual memory (p = .07), verbal memory (p = .06), or reaction time (p = .40). CONCLUSION: Baseline symptom scores were negatively influenced processing speed was enhanced by maximal exertion. These changes continue to be elevated 20 minutes post-exertion. Moreover, cognitive performance was not significantly impaired following maximal exercise. To obtain more accurate baseline symptom scores, and allow processing speed composites to return to normal, sports medicine professionals should wait at least 20 minutes following maximal exertion before administering CNT.