Functional Outcomes, Injury Variables, and Athlete Characteristics Associated with Post-Concussion Sleep Disturbance

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2022 Oct;

Riegler, K. E., Guty, E. T., Thomas, G. A., Bradson, M. L., & Arnett, P. A..



OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between sleep disturbance and functional outcomes following a concussion. Also, to explore athlete and injury-related variables that may be related to risk factors for poor sleep following concussion. METHOD: 124 collegiate athletes completed a neuropsychological evaluation within 14 days of sustaining a sport-related concussion (SRC). Athletes were categorized as sleep disturbed (n = 52) or not sleep disturbed (n = 72). Outcome variables included symptom reports, cognitive performance (mean performance and variability), and mood (depression). Injury characteristics and athlete characteristics explored were loss of consciousness (LOC) associated with the injury, whether the athlete was immediately removed from play, and history of prior concussions. RESULTS: Sleep disturbed athletes reported more symptoms, F(4, 119) = 7.82, p < 0.001, n2 = 0.21, were more likely to be symptomatic at the time of testing, chi2(1, N = 124) = 19.79, p < 0.001, phi = 0.40, and were marginally more likely to experience clinically significant depression, chi2(1, N = 120) = 3.03, p = 0.08, phi = 0.16, than not sleep disturbed athletes. There were no cognitive differences between the groups, p > 0.05. A greater proportion of sleep disturbed athletes experienced LOC (30%) compared to not sleep disturbed athletes (13%), chi2(1, N = 118) = 4.99, p = 0.03, phi = -0.21. CONCLUSION: Sleep disturbances following SRC are associated with a broad range of self-reported symptoms. LOC may be associated with an increased risk of developing sleep disturbances; alternatively, sleep disturbances may increase the risk of LOC following concussion.

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