Effects of repetitive head trauma on symptomatology of subsequent sport-related concussion

J Neurosurg Pediatr - 2023

Quinones, A., Young, T., Schupper, A. J., Ali, M., Hrabarchuk, E. I., Lamb, C. D., Genadry, L., Kalagara, R., Asfaw, Z. K., Gometz, A., Lovell, M. and Choudhri, T. F..



OBJECTIVE: Adolescent participation in athletics continues to grow, leading to an increasing incidence of sports-related concussion (SRC). The current literature suggests that a greater number of prior concussions positively correlates with a greater number of total symptoms, but the specific concussion-related symptoms are not as well defined. The current study investigated the effects of prior recurrent head injury on the symptom profiles of student-athletes after another suspected concussion. METHODS: A multicenter database consisting of 25,815 Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) results was filtered for student-athletes aged 12-22 years old who competed in 21 different sports. Patients were separated into 2 cohorts: athletes reporting a single prior concussion (SRC1) and athletes reporting 2 or more prior concussions (SRC2+). Comparisons were assessed for differences in 22 symptoms and 4 symptom clusters at baseline, first postinjury test (PI1), and second postinjury test (PI2) by using univariate and multivariate analyses. RESULTS: No differences were seen between SRC1 (n = 2253) and SRC2+ (n = 976) at baseline. At PI1, the SRC2+ group (n = 286) had lower severity of headaches (p = 0.04) but increased nervousness (p = 0.042), irritability (p = 0.028), sadness (p = 0.028), visual problems (p = 0.04), and neuropsychiatric symptoms (p = 0.009) compared with SRC1 (n = 529). Multivariate analysis revealed decreased headache severity with increased prior concussion (beta = -0.27,95% CI -0.45 to -0.09, p = 0.003). Multivariate analysis at PI2 demonstrated the SRC2+ cohort (n = 130) had increased cognitive (beta = 1.22, 95% CI 0.27-2.18, p = 0.012), sleep (beta = 0.63, 95% CI 0.17-1.08, p = 0.007), and neuropsychiatric (beta = 0.67,95% CI 0.14-1.2,0.014) symptoms compared with SRC1 (n = 292). CONCLUSIONS: At longitudinal follow-up, patients with a history of recurrent concussions reported greater symptom burden in cognitive, sleep, and neuropsychiatric symptom clusters but not migraine symptoms. This is an important distinction because migraine symptoms are often more easily distinguishable to patients, parents, and physicians. Careful assessment of specific symptoms should be considered in patients with a history of recurrent head injury prior to return to play.

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