Sports-Related Concussion and Statistical Study

Sports-Related Concussion and Statistical Study

Neurocognitive performance

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Performance and game management

Elite-Level Sports

Contest Design

Game Planning

Significant Usage

Tactical Responsibilities

Advantages and disadvantages

Importance of statistical study within professional sports

The importance of quantitative data has assumed much importance in the professional sports environment during the last few years. To obtain meaningful forms of raw data that represents underlying patterns and trends, it is important to extract the data by using methods that are statistically and mathematically valid. Professional sports are also an area where statistical methods are in wide practice. Use of statistical methods involve collection of quantitative data, management of data, and analysis using different statistical tools such as Chi-squared test, factor analysis, correlation, time series analysis, and many other tests. Management of professional sports such as basketball, football, baseball, and racing tournaments uses statistical tools to increase performance capacity of sportsmen, redesigning playfields, and preparing effective game plans. The following section describes quantitative studies in which statistical tools were used to enhance player performance, treat brain injuries, and performance management of professional referees. Management of sporting venues is also done by employing statistical techniques as an aid in the planning process.

Use of discriminant analysis in Basketball

A statistical study was conducted by Sampaio, Janeira, Ibanez and Lorenzo (2006) in which statistical tools were used to assess the differences in game playing patterns of three professional leagues i.e. National Basketball Association (NBA, superior level) USA, Associacion de Clubs de Baloncesto (ACB European league) in Spain and Liga de Clubes de Basquetebol (LCB, inferior level) in Portugal. The study was aimed at monitoring and reporting the differences in playing patterns of the players of these leagues. This was to help team managers better manage the players by appropriately positioning the players in the game. It was to be assessed that what is the best combination when these players perform more effectively in the game.

In the study, researchers gathered 2000-2001 numeric data of three leagues NBA, ACB, and LCB for five, three, and four games respectively. Discriminant analysis was used to identify mean differences between the playing positions. Only structure coefficients greater than 0.30 were taken. For LCB players, the findings of the research indicated that centers and guards were mainly assigned the defense positions whereas emphasis was significantly laid upon defense rebounds and de-emphasis on unsuccessful 3-point field-goals (SC=? 0.37). This was different for the ACB team players as the centers and guards were discriminated by offensive tasks such as 3-point field-goals and assists.

The results of the study suggest that such detailed results with correct positioning-related statistics could not have been gathered until discriminant analysis would not have been used for data management purposes. The study is useful in indicating the coaches of respective teams of LCB, NBA, and ACB that which players have performed well at what particular position and what has been the precision level of their field play? Therefore, it is only through such rigorous statistical analysis that results regarding player positions in basketball with relative performance standards could be assessed.

Sports-related concussion and statistical study

Concussion is a form of brain injury that is common in professional sportsmen. Sports such as football, basketball, rugby, and baseball are high in head injury probability for the sportsmen. Headache, neck pain, tiredness, dizziness, confusion, and amnesia are common symptoms in the professional sportsmen after they experience a head or brain injury. To assess the post trauma and impact of such injury on neuropsychology of the players, it is important that assessments of their condition are made statistically.

Belanger and Vanderploeg (2005) conducted quantitative research study in which the impact of sports-related concussion was studied for its neuropsychological impact on the sportsmen. Across the six cognitive domains, a meta-analysis of existing literature was conducted by the authors. The research utilized 21 studies in which 790 cases of concussion and 2014 control cases were analyzed statistically. The results of the study were compared to non-sports brain injuries.

In cases of delayed memory, global cognitive functioning, and memory acquisition, the results indicated that the impact was greatest within the first 24 hours of the injury in both sports related and non-sports related injuries. The injuries of sportsmen that were reported in the professional sports categories of hockey, football, ice-hockey, and boxing were taken when studying in comparison with non-sports injuries. A funnel plot was drawn to assess the presence of extreme values within the observed data.

The results of the study indicated that sporting games having significantly high involvement of head-use, such as boxing and soccer, heading resulted in greater head injury than those in non-sports injuries and non-head exposed sports such as hockey and basketball. The study was conducted through the use of statistical tools such as effect-size estimate. Moderator variables were also calculated by the researchers whereby Q. statistic was also calculated. The research study also concluded that all sportsmen cases which were analyzed indicated that sports person were statically deficient in all cognitive domains except executive function and attention span. The study is useful in drawing the conclusion that statistical studies are important in performance management category as well as the medical and healthcare related issues in professional sports.

Neurocognitive performance

Another such study carried out in which statistical analysis formed the basis of research was performed by Broglio, Macciocchi and Ferrara (2007). The researchers investigated the instances where players in professional sports underreported their concussion injuries in order to return to the playing field. The study concluded that neurocognitive impairments were present in the injured players when they came back for playing and this was due to the fact that these players did not reveal the full symptoms after the injury. The use of athlete reported symptoms did not help comprehensive assessment of the impact of injury and once the player rejoined in the playfield, concussion symptoms also resurfaced.

Method of study

Current retrospective analysis was performed by the researchers in order to investigate the effects of sports-related concussion. Symptom Assessment Scale (SAS) and the ImPACT (ImPACT Applications, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA) neurocognitive tools were used by the researcher. Self-reported symptomatic (SRS) were used by the researcher to record the injury related responses. ImPACT test and SAS descriptive statistics are also provided by the researcher.

Performance and game management

Statistical studies are also used in professional sports for the management of performance of players as well as the referees. Weston, et al. (2007) also conducted one such study in which the impact of overall match intensity, first half activity, and seasonal variation was assessed on the performance of the football referees of English Premier League. Computerized Prozone® match analysis system was used to collect the data from 19 professional referees for 254 matches in the season of year 2004-2005.

The categories developed by the researchers in which performance of referees was assessed were three. These were ‘total distance covered (TD); high-intensity running distance (running speed > 5.5 m/s, HIR); and average distance from infringements (DI). The figure below represents that the distances covered by match players and the referees were correlated and that physical performance of referees was somewhat intense as the match tempo in the first half was fast.

Fig 1 Relationship between the amounts of HIR by PL referees and PL player

Source: (Weston, et al., 2007)

Elite-Level Sports

The sporting activities and tournaments are watched around the globe, particularly Elite-level sports including, baseball, soccer, racing, and athletics. These professional sports involve expert capabilities to perform on national as well as international levels. The stakes of large scale corporations as sponsors, player’s performance, and event titles is the most common reason for applying sophisticated scientific techniques to achieve the highest results.

Contest Design

The design of the important events i.e. world championships, number of participant, contest structure, prize distribution, number of matches etc. require detailed planning and an optimal combination to avoid any congestions. Statistical techniques and analysis are a significant part of the modern sporting activities. The organizers, sponsors, teams, and officials of the tournament take advantage of the modern sports science techniques to optimize contest designs (Szymanski, 2003).

Game Planning

The statistical techniques and analysis are also used in order to organize a team or individual’s game plan. The game planning has also involved high level of technological and statistical techniques to reap maximum performance and deploy best abilities in order to obtain optimal results. The statistical analyses are also deployed to achieve the game specific as well as role specific tasks. The team management and coaches utilize statistical techniques for developing a game plan.

Significant Usage

The significance of statistical analysis is described by (Di Salvo, Baron, Tschan, Calderon Montero, Bachl, & Pigozzi, 2007) in terms of analysis of player’s performance in a soccer match. The study undertakes analysis of distances covered by a player while playing at a specific position. The analysis is further segregated to assess the attributes of performance comparison in terms of both halves of the game. It is observed that modified positions of players revealed better results as compared with their exiting positions.

Tactical Responsibilities

According to De Salvo et al. (2007) statistical techniques are not only used to assess players performance but the results and conclusions of these analyses are used to design and develop position conditioning and player’s individual training plans. It is a contemporary sports science practice to use manual as well as technological tools to gather quantitative data and analyze the data using mean, percentage, standard deviation, and probability components of statistical techniques (Szymanski, 2003). The increased usage of these techniques has modified the applicability of traditional game planning practices. A position coordination analysis is also performed using computerized match analysis system. Match analysis techniques are also applied to opponent teams to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

Advantages and disadvantages

There are advantages and disadvantages of using these techniques. The advantages include a coordinated game design, planning, team selection, and position assignation. Whereas the disadvantages can be denoted as providing more control of the game in usage and accuracy of statistical and match analysis techniques. This has transformed the creativity and natural game of the players. Moreover genetic capabilities and physiological athletic capacity of the players cannot be enhanced using such techniques (De Salvo, 2007).


The research studies being reviewed indicate that all the studies were conducted by using the statistical tools and analysis methods. Professional sports such as hockey, football, baseball, basketball, and boxing, all leverage upon the statistical studies to manage performance management and health care as well as medical issues of sportsmen. Soccer leagues and clubs also leverage upon the in-depth studies being conducted by the researchers to manage the on-field and off-filed performance of the players.


Belanger, H.G., & Vanderploeg, R.D. (2005). The neuropsychological impact of sports-related concussion: a meta-analysis. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 11(4), 345-357.

Broglio, S.P., Macciocchi, S.N., & Ferrara, M.S. (2007). Neurocognitive performance of concussed athletes when symptom free. Journal of athletic training, 42(4), 504.

Di Salvo, V., Baron, R., Tschan, H., Calderon Montero, F.J., Bachl, N., & Pigozzi, F. (2007). Performance characteristics according to playing position in elite soccer. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 28(3), 222.

Sampaio, J., Janeira, M., Ibanez, S., & Lorenzo, A. (2006). Discriminant analysis of game-related statistics between basketball guards forwards and centers in three professional leagues. European Journal of Sport Science, 6(3), 173-178.

Szymanski, S. (2003). The economic design of sporting contests. Journal of Economic Literature, 41(4), 1137-1187.

Weston, M., Castagna, C., Impellizzeri, F.M., Rampinini, E., & Abt, G. (2007). Analysis of physical match performance in English Premier League soccer referees with particular reference to first half and player work rates. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10(6), 390-397.

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