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Post-concussion cognitive declines and symptomatology are not related to concussion biomechanics in high school football players

J Neurotrauma. 2011 Oct;

28(10):2061-2068.

Broglio, S. P., J. T. Eckner, T. Surma and J. S. Kutcher.

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Abstract:

Concussion is a major public health concern with nearly 4 million injuries occurring each year in the United States. In the acute post-injury stage, concussed individuals demonstrate cognitive function and motor control declines as well as reporting increased symptoms. Researchers have hypothesized that the severity of these impairments is related to impact magnitude. Using the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) to record head impact biomechanics, we sought to correlate pre- and post-concussive impact characteristics with declines in cognitive performance and increases in concussion-related symptoms. Over four seasons, 19 high school football athletes wearing instrumented helmets sustained 20 diagnosed concussions. Each athlete completed a baseline computer-based symptom and cognitive assessment during the pre-season and a post-injury assessment within 24 h of injury. Correlational analyses identified no significant relationships between symptoms and cognitive performance change scores and impact biomechanics (i.e., time from session start until injury, time from the previous impact, peak linear acceleration, peak rotational acceleration, and HIT severity profile [HITsp]). Nor were there any significant relationships between change scores and the number of impacts, cumulative linear acceleration, cumulative rotational acceleration, or cumulative HITsp values associated with all impacts prior to or following the injury. This investigation is the first to examine the relationship between concussion impact characteristics, including cumulative impact profiles, and post-morbid outcomes in high school athletes. There appears to be no association between head impact biomechanics and post-concussive outcomes. As such, the use of biomechanical variables to predict injury severity does not appear feasible at this time.

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