Influence of Sleep Dysfunction on Concussion Assessment Outcomes Among Adolescent Athletes After Concussion and Healthy Controls

Clin J Sport Med. 2020 Oct;

Blaney, N. A., Trbovich, A., Ernst, N., Eagle, S. R., Collins, M. W., & Kontos, A. P..



BACKGROUND: Sleep dysfunction (SD) is associated with a high symptom burden and lower neurocognitive performance after concussion and on baseline testing without injury. However, few studies have compared concussed athletes and controls with and without SD on clinical outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate differences in clinical outcomes among both concussed athletes and matched controls with and without SD. DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS: Participants aged 12 to 20 years were recruited from a concussion clinic (n = 50 patients) and research registry/flyers (n = 50 healthy age-/sex-matched controls). Participants were categorized by self-reported SD into one of 4 groups: sport-related concussion (SRC) + SD, SRC only, SD only, and controls. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS), Vestibular/Oculomotor Screening (VOMS), and neurocognitive testing (Immediate Postconcussion Assessment Cognitive Test). RESULTS: Compared with the SRC only group, the SRC + SD group performed worse on all neurocognitive domains, had a higher total symptom score, and endorsed more symptoms on most VOMS items. In addition, the SRC + SD group was at an increased likelihood of having at least 1 abnormal VOMS item compared with SRC only group. The SRC only group had neurocognitive test scores and symptom reports statistically similar to the SD only group. CONCLUSION: Sleep dysfunction after concussion is related to worse neurocognitive performance and higher concussion symptom reporting. This study extended findings to suggest vestibular symptomology is worse among athletes with SD after injury compared to injured athletes without SD. Similar performances on concussion assessments for the SRC only and SD only groups suggest SD may appear similar to clinical presentation of concussion, even at baseline in the absence of SRC.

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