Preseason Symptom Reporting and Cognition in Middle School Athletes with Past Concussions

Int J Sports Med -

Iverson, G. L., Berkner, P. D., Zafonte, R., Maxwell, B., & Terry, D. P..



This study examined the association between past concussions and current preseason symptom reporting and cognitive performance in 9,257 youth ages 11-13. Participants completed neurocognitive testing prior to participating in a school sports between 2009 and 2019. We stratified the sample by gender and number of prior concussions and assessed group differences on the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale total score and the ImPACT cognitive composite scores. Those with>/=2 prior concussions reported more symptoms than those with 0 concussions (d=0.43-0.46). Multiple regressions examining the contribution of concussion history and developmental/health history to symptom reporting showed the most significant predictors of symptoms scores were (in descending order): treatment for a psychiatric condition, treatment for headaches, history of learning disability (in boys only), history of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and age. Concussion history was the weakest statistically significant predictor in boys and not significant in girls. Cognitively, boys with 1 prior concussion had worse speed those with 0 concussions (d=0.11), and girls with>/=2 prior concussions had worse verbal/visual memory than girls with 0 concussions (ds=0.38-0.39). In summary, youth with>/=2 prior concussions reported more symptoms than those with no concussions. Boys with multiple concussions performed similarly on cognitive testing, while girls had worse memory scores.

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