Impact of Head Injury on Cognitive Functioning and Social Cognition in UK-based Female Rugby Players

Prof Doc Thesis

Flynn, R. 2024. Impact of Head Injury on Cognitive Functioning and Social Cognition in UK-based Female Rugby Players. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsFlynn, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Increasing attention is focused on the potential long-term impact of sports-related mild traumatic brain injuries (SRmTBI). Evidence suggests poorer cognitive and psychosocial outcomes in SRmTBI, including increased risk of developing certain neurodegenerative conditions. Research to date has focused on males neglecting female athletes, despite evidence suggesting sex-specific differences in frequency and recovery of SRmTBI.

To explore the association between SRmTBI and cognitive functioning with a specific focus on social cognition in female rugby players.

A quantitative cross-sectional design was employed allowing for thirteen female rugby players with a history of SRmTBI to complete a neuropsychological battery of general cognitive functioning and social cognition.

Weaknesses relative to normative data, were found for domains of social cognition including theory of mind and cognitive empathy, despite typical scores on domains of general cognitive functioning relative to normative data. Group level analysis confirmed poorer performance for theory of mind and cognitive empathy measures in contrast to overall performance on domains of general cognitive functioning.

Findings from this preliminary study indicate that measures of social cognition should be incorporated into routine assessment and management of SRmTBI. Further research is needed to investigate the association between social cognition and SRmTBI.

Keywordswomen’s rugby; mild traumatic brain injury; social cognition; neurocognition
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online24 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Completed11 Jan 2024
Deposited24 Jan 2024
Copyright holder© 2024, The Author
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