Effects of multiple sport-related concussions on cognitive performance

British Journal of Sports Medicine -


van Kampen, D., M. McClincy, K. Moritz, F. Fu, C. Burke and T. Hagan.



Introduction: The management of concussion has become a public health issue since around 300,000 concussions occur each year in the US alone. Most discussion focuses upon return-to-play decision-making, which should be based upon athletes’ symptoms and cognitive function. The current study was designed to evaluate the impact of concussion history upon cognitive and symptom status with a new concussion, with measurements taken at 2 and 7 days post-injury. Method: 201 high school and college athletes were evaluated pre-season, and at 2 and 7 days post-concussion. All athletes were evaluated using the ImPACT computerized test battery. Athletes who had never sustained a concussion prior to the current injury (n = 155) and athletes who had suffered two or more concussions prior to the current injury(n = 46) were compared. Dependent variables included the verbal memory, visual memory, processing speed, and reaction time composite scores from the ImPACT test battery, the total symptom score on ImPACT’s Post-Concussion Symptom Scale, and athlete-reported on-field markers of injury for the current injury. Results and Discussion: No significant differences were found between groups for any of the composite scores or total symptom score at 2 and 7 days post-injury. However, increases on on-field markers were observed in the group with a concussion history. Results suggest a decreased injury threshold for athletes with a concussion history, though no long-term neurocognitive difficulties.

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