How Are Student Athletes Really Feeling? Utilizing the 21-item Post-Concussion Scale on Athletes With No Reported Concussion History

J Int Neuropsychol Soc -


Ritchie, D., S. Russo and S. Quintana-Marikle.



Objective: Assessment and intervention of sport related concussion relies heavily on the self-report of symptoms reported by the athlete. The current paper examines the base rate of self-reported symptoms in healthy athletes without sustaining prior concussions. Participants and Methods: Participants for the study were 192 student athletes (79 male, 113 female) within a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-II athletic program located within the Southeastern United States. Participants completed the Immediate PostConcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT), a computerized neuro-cognitive screening tool. ImPACT also includes a Post-Concussion Symptom Scale measuring 22 symptoms associated with concussions. Results: Of the current sample, 65% reported at least one symptom of any intensity. Symptoms ranged from 28% to 2% for any level of intensity with the most common symptoms including: fatigue (28%), headache (26%), hyposomnia (25%), feeling more emotional (19%) and trouble falling asleep (18%). Within the sample, 36% of the athletes reported at least 5 symptoms, 14% reported at least 11 symptoms with 7% reporting at least 16 out of 22 symptoms. Additionally, 11% of the healthy athletes included in the current study endorsed symptoms consistent with the diagnosis of Post Concussion Syndrome as defined by the ICD-10 classification. Conclusions: Results indicate markedly lower endorsement in the current study from other studies of healthy undergraduate samples who report significantly higher PCS symptoms. These findings illustrate the importance in baseline testing athletes in order to make more accurate post-injury treatment plans for returning the athlete to competition safely.

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