Concussion History in High School Athletes with Self-Reported Learning Disabilities

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2014 Mar;

20(s1):22.

Iverson, G. L., J. E. Atkins, R. Zafonte and P. D. Berkner.

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Abstract:

Objective: Very little is known about the rate of concussions in adolescents with learning disabilities (LD). It was hypothesized that high school athletes with LDs would report a comparable history of concussion compared to students without LDs. Participants and Methods: Participants were 6,230 high school student athletes from Maine, USA, between the ages of 14 and 18, who completed a demographics and history questionnaire embedded in the ImPACT® program in 2010. Results: In the total sample, 20.2% of boys and 13.8% of girls reported one or more past concussions, and 6.9% of boys and 3.9% of girls reported two or more injuries. In the total sample, 3.7% self-reported a diagnosis of LD, representing 4.5% of the boys and 2.6% of the girls. Of those with LDs, 30.1% reported a history of one or more concussions compared to 16.9% of those without LDs [Χ2 (1, 6,230)=26.73, p<.000001]. Stratified by gender, 32.9% of boys with LDs reported a history of one or more concussions compared to 19.6% of boys without LDs [Χ2 (1, 3,547)=16.7, p<.00005], and 23.9% of girls with LDs reported a history of one or more concussions compared to 13.5% of girls without LDs [Χ2 (1, 2,683)=6.32, p<.012]. Of those with LDs, 11.4% reported a history of two or more concussions compared to 5.4% of those without LDs [Χ2 (1, 6230)=14.75, p<.00013]. Stratified by gender, 12.0% of boys with LDs reported a history of two or more concussions compared to 6.7% of boys without LDs [Χ2 (1, 3,547)=6.74, p<.009], and 9.9% of girls with LDs reported a history of two or more concussions compared to 3.8% of girls without LDs [Χ2 (1, 2,683)=6.86, p<.009]. Conclusions: In this large-scale, retrospective survey study, boys and girls with LDs were significantly more likely to report a history of one or more and two or more concussions than those who do not have LDs. Additional research is needed to determine if students with LDs are more susceptible to injury (i.e., have a lower threshold) or have different recovery trajectories.

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