Gender differences in recovery trajectories following sports-related concussion in collegiate athletes

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Kaminaris, C. and P. Schatz.



Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify gender differences in post-concussion recovery trajectories. Methods: Seventy-seven collegiate athletes from five Northeastern Universities underwent baseline testing using ImPACT, and completed post-concussion testing within 48 h of sustaining a concussion, and 3–5 days, 6–10 days, and greater than 10 days post-concussion. Results: One-way ANOVAs revealed significant post-concussive effects on the ImPACT composite scores of verbal memory, visual memory, motor speed, reaction time, but no significant effect on impulse control. Gender differences up to 48-h post-concussion indicated that male athletes performed significantly worse in motor speed and better in reaction time than female athletes. At 6–10 days post-concussion, male athletes showed improved functioning (e.g., return to baseline) in verbal memory and visual memory, as compared to female athletes; both genders showed similar recovery trajectories in reaction time, with return to baseline seen 6–10 days post-concussion. Conclusions: These findings support the importance of recognizing different recovery curves for male and female athletes. As concussion appears to affect males and females differently, with respect to the type of post-concussion cognitive deficits experienced, there needs to be acknowledgment of gender differences that exist along post-concussion testing continuums. Tracking concussed athletes’ recovery trajectories will assist clinicians and sports medicine personnel in making appropriate return-to-play decisions, and may lead to better treatment options and comprehensive care following injury.

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