Post-concussion Symptom Factors and Neuropsychological Outcomes in Collegiate Athletes

Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 2018 Jun;

[Epub ahead of print](Jun-18):.

Guty, E., Arnett, P..


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Objectives: Research indicates that symptoms following a concussion are related to cognitive dysfunction; however, less is known about how different types of symptoms may be related to cognitive outcomes or how specific domains of cognition are affected. The present study explored the relationship between specific types of symptoms and these various cognitive outcomes following a concussion. Methods: One-hundred twenty-two student-athletes with sports-related concussion were tested with a battery that included a symptom report measure and various cognitive tests. Symptoms factors were: Physical, Sleep, Cognitive, Affective and Headache. Participants were grouped into “symptom” and “no symptom” groups for each factor. Cognitive outcomes included both overall performance as well as impairment scores in which individuals were grouped into impaired and not impaired based on a cutoff of 2 or more tests at the impaired level (<80 in standard scores). These cognitive outcomes were examined for all the tests combined and then specifically for the memory tests and attention/processing speed tests. A Bonferroni correction was used, and the results were considered significant at a level of p<.008. Results: Headache symptoms were significantly (p<.008) associated with overall cognitive impairment as well as memory and attention/processing speed impairment. Sleep symptoms were related to memory impairments. Conclusions: The symptom specific relationships to cognitive outcomes demonstrated by our study can help guide treatment and accommodations for athletes following concussion. (JINS, 2018, 24, 1–9)

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