Prospective study with specific Re-Assessment time points to determine time to recovery following a Sports-Related Concussion in university-aged student-athletes

Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Nov;


Glendon, K., Blenkinsop, G., Belli, A., & Pain, M..



BACKGROUND: Time to recovery for symptom burden and neurocognition following a Sports-Related Concussion (SRC) has previously been determined by consolidating varying re-assessment time points into a singular point, and has not been established for Vestibular-Ocular-Motor (VOM) function or academic ability. OBJECTIVES: Establish when recovery of symptom burden, neurocognition, VOM function, and academic ability occurs in university-aged student-athletes. METHODS: Student-athletes completed an assessment battery (Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS), Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT), Vestibular Ocular-Motor Screening (VOMS), Perceived Academic Impairment Tool (PAIT)) during pre-season (n = 140), within 48 hours, 4, 8 and 14 days post-SRC and prior to Return To Play (RTP) and were managed according to the Rugby Football Union’ community pathway (n = 42). Student-athletes were deemed recovered or impaired according to Reliable Change Index’ (RCI) or compared to their individual baseline. RESULTS: Symptom burden recovers by four days post-SRC on RCI and to baseline by eight days. VOM function and academic ability recovers by 8 days. Some student-athletes demonstrated worse performance at RTP on all tests by RCI and to baseline, except for on VOMS score and near point convergence by RCI change. CONCLUSIONS: Variation in individual university-aged student-athletes requires a multi-faceted approach to establish what dysfunctions post-SRC exist and when recovery occurs.

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